We don’t know about you, but we’ve already got our tickets for Killer Elite, which hits theaters — presumably with a roundhouse kick — this Friday. See Jason Statham kicking ass while tied to a chair! Thrill to the most ill-advised facial hair of Clive Owen’s career! Groove to the straight-faced use of Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane!” (I know we’ve harped on this, but seriously, that’s what makes it the year’s funniest trailer.) And, most of all, calculate how much coin once-respected “actor’s actor” Robert DeNiro pocketed for appearing in this swill!
Actors make movies for many reasons: to stretch their skills, to work with admired co-stars or filmmakers, to help tell a story that they believe has value. And, sometimes, they make a movie for a nice chunk of cheddar. Mr. DeNiro, for one, has certainly had no qualms — particularly over the last decade or so — with lending his well-regarded talents to several projects that were in no danger of contributing to his Oscar shelf; in honor of his latest payday performance, let’s take a look at ten of his fellow thespians, and the depths to which they’ve traveled for a few extra zeros.
Michael Caine, Jaws: The Revenge
Caine’s supporting work in the fourth — and worst, by a mile — Jaws picture is one of the most notorious paycheck roles of all time, particularly because Mr. Caine has been so cheerfully candid about his motives for taking it: money, as well as a short location shoot in the Bahamas. The downside was that his commitment to the picture kept him from picking up his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters. As for the film itself? “I have never seen it,” Caine wrote later, “but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!”