6 actors who just couldn't quit a franchise – no matter how hard they tried
It’s a hard ol’ life being an actor. If you’re lucky enough to land a breakthrough role, you can end up typecast, forever linked to characters and franchises you only wanted to dabble in the once.
Out of pity (though, don’t feel too sorry for them – they did uniformly get hefty cheques to come back) here’s seven of our favourite thespians who couldn’t get away from a movie series, no matter how hard they tried.
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Terminator
Arnie didn’t just quit the Terminator franchise, he quit the film industry – moving into politics. But just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in and he returned to movies in 2013. (Even when he wasn’t acting, he couldn’t get away from the Terminator, with a CGI version of Schwarzenegger turning up in Terminator: Salvation.)
Arnie attempted to build new franchises, but came back to the T-800 in the lacklustre Terminator Genysis. Let’s hope he gets the send-off he deserves, with James Cameron travelling back through time to save the series.
2. Jim Carrey – Dumb and Dumber
There was a 20 year gap between Dumb and Dumber and its sequel Dumb and Dumberer – which saw a terrible prequel (without Carrey or co-star Jeff Daniels) shoving the rotten canary meat into an awkward sandwich.
But why did Jim Carrey wait so long to follow-up one of his most popular films?
“I like to wait until the executives pass on, before I do a sequel. I prefer that. I like to bury them, and then do the sequel.”
We hope he’s joking…
3. Leonard Nimoy – Star Trek
Leonard Nimoy went through a period where he hated the Star Trek brand so much he published an autobiography called I am not Spock.
“I went through a definite identity crisis. The question was whether to embrace Mr. Spock or to fight the onslaught of public interest. I realize now that I really had no choice in the matter. Spock and Star Trek were very much alive and there wasn’t anything that I could do to change that,” Nimoy said.
And yet, he was the only Original Series actor who appeared in JJ Abrams’ timey-wimey reboot of the franchise. And thank goodness he did, with Nimoy providing a much-needed gravitas that was replicated in the sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness, in which he had a moving cameo.
Sadly, Nimoy passed away before Star Trek Beyond – and he was most definitely missed.
4. Daniel Craig – James Bond
Oh, Daniel Craig. Despite (or perhaps because of) the fact he’s playing one of the most iconic characters of time, it feels like he’s being trying to get away from 007 since the very first movie.
The feeling seemed to escalate – shortly after shooting Spectre, Craig said of returning to the role of Bond:”Now? I’d rather… slash my wrists.”
He added: “I don’t know what the next step is. I’ve no idea. Not because I’m trying to be cagey. Who the f**k knows? At the moment, we’ve done it. I’m not in discussion with anybody about anything. If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.”
Tell us how you really feel, Daniel.
5. Robin Williams – Aladdin
Robin Williams wasn’t involved in the first sequel to Disney’s iconic Aladdin, thanks to a falling out with Disney over how they used his work.
Having been paid a scale rate for the voiceover of the iconic genie, he requested that they didn’t use his voice to market the movie, and that his character not take up more than 25% of any poster.
Disney agreed, then broke their word when they realised the performance they had on their hands. Williams was upset, and the studio tried to make it up to him by buying him a one million dollar painting. It didn’t fix this issue, and Williams didn’t return for the sequel.
But in 1994, Disney chief Joe Roth told the Los Angeles Times: “There is no question in my mind that we need to apologise [to Robin Williams]…for not defusing the issue in the media that [his motive] appeared to be about money.
“I’ve known Robin for years and I know that none of these issues are ever about money. They are simply about principle.”
It healed the damage and Williams returned for the third instalment.
With enough improvised material left over from Williams’ original recording sessions from the first movie, you might expect a fourth film in the franchise to pop up. Thankfully, that can’t happen… at least, not soon. It’s in Williams’ will that Disney can’t use the material until 25 years after his death.
6. Matt Damon – Bourne
Matt Damon quit the Bourne franchise with The Bourne Ultimatum, and was pretty firm in his reasoning.
“We have ridden that horse as far as we can. For me, I kind of feel the story that we set out to tell has now been told.” Damon later suggested he might return if regular Bourne director Paul Greengrass was willing, but Greengrass wasn’t up for it. “I discovered in my heart I didn’t have another one in me,” the filmmaker said.
The Bourne Legacy tried to reboot the series with Jeremy Renner as new character Aaron Cross, with instantly diminishing returns. Universal convinced Damon and Greengrass to return, and their reward was the second-highest grossing film in the franchise.
Turns out that ‘dead’ horse still had some life left in it.
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