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"I hadn't been beaten up in a movie before and I was very excited by the idea of being clubbed to death."
Stephen Fry, on why he appeared in V for Vendetta

Some actors hate their past gigs because they seriously misjudged the quality at the time or only did them for the paycheck.

But some did the movie, because they got to be vampires or superheroes, walk away from explosions in trenchcoats, ride motorcycles and fly through the air swinging a frickin' samurai sword. This trope is when an actor took the part based on its cool factor.

Contrast and compare with Money, Dear Boy, Doing It for the Art, and So My Kids Can Watch. Frequently overlaps with Promoted Fanboy.

Examples of Awesome, Dear Boy include:
  • Stephen Fry in V for Vendetta, as mentioned in the page quote.
  • Ben Kingsley said his appearance in Blood Rayne was partly because he'd never had a chance to play a vampire before.
  • Hugo Weaving was once quoted as wanting to play Elrond and Agent Smith so that he could get action figures of himself and make them fight each other.
  • Anthony Hopkins said that the only reason he took a role in Freejack was because he had always wanted to meet Mick Jagger.
    • Both of them Hammed and Cheesed it up like the world was ending. Perhaps the opposite was also true? The producers told Hopkins that Mick Jagger was involved so he'd sign on, and at the same time told Jagger that Anthony Hopkins was involved so he'd sign on.
  • Johnny Depp said he did Pirates of the Caribbean because he, like every little boy, has always wanted to be a pirate and this would let him... And then proceeded to totally steal the movie from its intended leading pair of Will and Elizabeth, mainly because he just thought that it would be fun to channel Keith Richards.
    • Made funnier by the fact that they did, indeed eventually get Keith Richards to play his dad.
  • Matt Damon, on why he took the role in Saving Private Ryan:

 "It was offered to me. When Spielberg says jump, bitches say how high?"

  • Part of Robert Downey Jr.'s reason for taking the role of Iron Man was being a fan of the comics as a kid. He also once watched The Matrix with his wife (who is also a Hollywood producer) and simply said, "I could do that." And thus set the plan in motion to have him headline a blockbuster action film once he proved he could be reliable and his old habits were behind him for good.
  • Samuel L. Jackson was in Snakes on a Plane just so he could act in a film called "Snakes On A Plane". He even threatened to quit when they tried to rename the film.
    • He also said it was the type of film he loved when he was a kid.
  • Ron Perlman lobbied for the lead role in Hellboy because he would get to play the romantic lead in a Beauty and the Beast story again. Plus he would get to kiss a woman half his age.
  • Basil Rathbone, on playing Sherlock Holmes in 1939's The Hound of the Baskervilles:

 "Ever since I was a boy and first got acquainted with the great detective I wanted to be like him ... To play such a character means as much to me as ten 'Hamlets'!"

  • This is why James Woods agreed to play Hades in Hercules and all of its various spinoffs. He's gone on record as it being the one role he would agree to play again anytime, anywhere.
  • David Tennant went into acting specifically because he wanted to play the Doctor on Doctor Who. Apparently, several Doctors have said this.[1]
    • Similarly, Alex Kingston has said on more than one occasion that one of her favorite parts of playing River Song is that she gets to do stunts, something that she didn't get to have on ER.
    • Doctor Who has a long tradition of securing notable guest stars on the strength of 'appearing on Doctor Who' and often because it would impress the kids. It's also traditionally been one of the few venues on British television where the guest stars would get to play aliens, monsters, mad scientists and the like.
  • Christian Bale said something to the effect of no matter how hard he worked out or how miserably uncomfortable the Batsuit was, it was all worth it because he got to be Batman.
  • Cillian Murphy's reason for joining Nolan's Batman Begins: "just to be near the Batmobile".
  • The Blaxploitation parody film ("Jewsploitation") The Hebrew Hammer: Adam Goldberg, who played the titular character, opened the script, landed on a random page, read one epic line ("Shabbat Shalom, motherfuckers!"), and immediately agreed to do the film.
  • Cate Blanchett largely took the role of Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings because she wanted to wear the elf ears.
  • Nicolas Cage was an Promoted Fanboy for his role as Ghost Rider. Basically anytime you ask Nicolas Cage to play a superhero, he's there. He named his kid Kal-El! Not to mention naming himself after Luke Cage.
    • This is also the reason he did Season of the Witch. He always wanted to play a knight.
    • There's a degree of this to every role Nic Cage takes, which is part of what makes him so awesome - he's always Doing It for the Art.
  • Halle Berry says that she did Catwoman because she wanted the awesome experience of playing a woman beholden to no one. Subverted when this was later revealed to be a Retcon when she gave an interview saying that she mainly did it because she was under contract.
  • M. Night Shyamalan wanted to direct the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie because he was a fan (his kids got him into the show). It's possible he was so much of a fan that he deliberately tanked the movie franchise so that they'd instead bring back the original show.
    • If he could ever admit to doing that, he'd win back a lot of the fans from his early movies who dismiss him now as too pretentious and formulaic.
  • Part of the reason why Paul Verhoeven did RoboCop. He initially rejected the opportunity to direct the film when he read the script and thought it was silly and stupid. He changed his mind when his wife convinced him that there were more layers to the story than he initially thought, and because the writers pointed out the amount of Gorn there was, to which he responded "Well, I've never seen the hero get his hand blown off!"
  • Meryl Streep did Mamma Mia because she took her daughter Louisa and some of Louisa's friends to see it for her eleventh birthday - which was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 - and wrote a fan letter to the crew. When the time came for the movie, the girls-in-charge asked her to play Donna, and she accepted eagerly. Also, she wanted to have fun and kick up her heels for awhile.
    • Meryl is actually pretty good for these. She's primarily known for serious, intense Oscar Bait roles, but every few years or so, she does something like She-Devil or A Series of Unfortunate Events or Mamma Mia. It seems like she gives herself a Breather Movie every few years where she can just have fun, laugh, and ham it up.
    • Pierce Brosnan, meanwhile, summed up his reason for doing the film as this: "Meryl Streep is starring." He also referred to Meryl as "that gorgeous blonde I had a terrible crush on in drama school."
  • Star Trek in general is this. If you're casting a Star Trek episode and want an actor who has the slightest hint of geek in them, they're all yours as long as you let them have at least a little Ham and Cheese.
    • Mick Fleetwood played a nonhuman assassin in an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. Accounts say he was enthusiastic about the role, even though his face was completely hidden by a mask that made him look vaguely fishlike, because he got to be portrayed as being beamed aboard the Enterprise. In fact, when told he'd have to shave his iconic beard to wear the mask, he did so on the condition that he get to be beamed up.
    • When Patrick Stewart is asked why a Shakespearean actor such as him wanted to be in Star Trek, he gives this as his reason.
      • In fact, he once stated that years of performing Shakespeare prepared him for Star Trek.
    • NBA Hall-of-Famer James Worthy made guest appearance with very few lines in Star Trek the Next Generation. Why? Because he got to be a Klingon.
    • At the time, Wil Wheaton thought that getting to be helmsman of the Enterprise was a dream come true.
    • Whoopi Goldberg actually went to the mountain - she showed up in person to ask for a part. They made her the Almighty Bartender who is not only smarter and more capable than anyone else on the ship, but regularly gets away with dissing Q.
    • Kim Cattrall took the part of Lieutenant Valeris in Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country because "How many times would I be given a chance to play a Vulcan?"
    • Malcolm McDowell actually hated the script of Star Trek Generations until the producers said eight little words: "How would you like to kill Captain Kirk?"
    • John Cho has stated that he strongly wanted the role of Sulu in the 2009 Trek reboot because it had meant a lot for him as a kid to see a rare non-stereotypical Asian face on television. In one interview he was asked if this was one of those times where he had aggressively pursued a role, and Cho emphatically responded "It was the only time."
    • Averted with Stephen Collins, who played Decker in Star Trek the Motion Picture. Collins says he was practically the only guy at the audition who viewed it as just another part and was not interested in being part of Star Trek. However, he was excited about working with Robert Wise.
  • Noah Antwiler has admitted that his costume that he wore to portray his over-the-top parody of Terl made him physically ill. However, he was reportedly thrilled to play the character.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt signed onto G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra upon seeing concept art for the costume that he'd be wearing. Needless to say, he had a blast. Apparently this is why half of the cast signed up in the first place.
    • This was almost inverted by Channing Tatum, who was skeptical of signing on to the film because he thought it would be a pro-war, gung-ho propaganda piece. Then he read the script and realized that it was none of that, and this trope was played straight.
      • According to the producers once they started casting they had so many applicants that actors actually starting fighting each other to try and get in on the movie.
  • To this day, Frank Langella remembers his role as Skeletor in Masters of the Universe as one of his favorites, and can be seen having the time of his life playing it. When he takes time out of an interview promoting Frost/Nixon to reflect on his time as a world-conquering skeleton monster, you know the awesome was there in spades.
  • Raul Julia was in the So Bad It's Good Street Fighter movie as a combination of this and So My Kids Can Watch. He already knew that he was dying of cancer, so he choose the role because his grandkids were the fans of the series -- and then completely stole the movie. M. Bison's scenes are the best parts of the film.
  • Tom Hanks signed up for Toy Story when Pixar showed him a rough skit featuring a wireframe Woody. He said he knew the film was going to be unlike any other and signed on when they pitched him.
  • Benicio Del Toro and Rick Baker jumped at the chance to work on the remake of The Wolf Man because both men are huge fans of the original.
  • The Kamen Rider franchise, being a Long Runner, has its share of Ascended Fanboys. Masahiro Inoue (Tsukasa Kadoya/Decade) and Renn Kiriyama (Shotaro Hidari/Double) are two such examples, both being part of Kamen Rider Black's Periphery Demographic when they were kids (and Inoue even getting the chance to work alongside Black star Tetsuo Kurata). However, the crown probably deserves to go to Ryota Murai, who went from a boy who loved Kamen Rider Kuuga to the man who got to be the new Kuuga in Decade (since the original is busy not being Spock).
  • Peter Cullen was invited to voice the Predator, and was reluctant, since he injured his throat voicing King Kong in 1976. Then he saw the unmasked creature, and accepted.
    • This is also why he auditioned to reprise his role as Optimus Prime in the live-action Transformers series, although at first he didn't realize how awesome this was. His kids had to convince him that Optimus is kind of a big deal.
  • Jason Isaacs's primary reason for doing the Harry Potter films seems to be getting to play a hammy evil wizard. He even convinced the filmmakers to throw out their original banal design for Lucius Malfoy so that he could have such things as Badass Long Hair, a snake-headed cane which conceals his wand, and so forth.
    • Bill Nighy likewise signed on as Rufus Scrimgeor (despite the role amounting to only about ten minutes of screentime) because he didn't want to be the only actor in Britain who hadn't been in a Harry Potter movie.
    • Ralph Fiennes on taking the role of Lord Voldemort:

 "One of the things that made me want to do the role was Mike Newell showing me these drawings, artwork about the suggested looks of Voldemort. I got a real buzz off it and that's pretty much when I thought this would be cool to do."

  • When an interviewer asked William H. Macy why he accepted a role in Jurassic Park III, he replied "Because I'm 50 years old and I get to fight a dinosaur."
  • Amusingly inverted by David Bowie, who chose not to play a James Bond villain (Zorin in A View to a Kill) because, besides hating the script, "I didn't want to spend five months watching my stunt double fall off cliffs." Christopher Walken ended up doing the part, and had a hell of a time.
  • Ryan Reynolds would not stop auditioning for superhero movies and talking himself up as the perfect casting choice for any superhero you could shake a stick at. He clearly wanted to be a superhero so very badly, and got to be Deadpool and Hal Jordan for his persistence.
  • Jack Huston basically outright stated that he did Outlander--the movie about Beowulf-meets-alien-monsters--basically for this reason; because playing a Viking is "every boy's dream."
  • Most of the cast of The Phantom Menace. Reportedly, after a lightsaber scene, Ewan McGregor could be overheard muttering, "'Do I want to be in Star Wars?' F**k yeah!"
  • By his own report, when Spielberg offered Shia LaBeouf the role of Indiana Jones' son, he was unable to speak properly for a solid minute.
  • Jude Law, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow all signed on for Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow immediately after watching Kerry Conran's six-minute film, which he produced on a home computer. They were all impressed with his vision, and wanted to see the film to its completion. (Also, it allowed Jolie to wear an eyepatch and a bubble-helmet, two things she'd always wanted.)
  • If there's a a Super Robot Wars game with a role in it voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa of Gundam Wing fame, you can bet he's going to have a lot of extra voiced lines in it. This is because the guy is a huge fan of the games and as such always offers to do his lines for free.
  • Angelina Jolie agreed to do Lara Croft Tomb Raider because of the locations she got to visit. She fell in love with Cambodia and ended up moving there to avoid the paparazzi and help with mine cleanup. Jolie adopted her first child while making the film.
  • Just about anyone doing a James Bond film has this as justification (due to either being part of the series or winning a free trip).
  • Some of the cast of Sin City signed on after seeing the test footage which would eventually become the opening scene. In the making-of it's noted that a lot of them had wanted to play noir characters for a long time, such as Bruce Willis. Also, many cast members signed on due to other actors being in talks. Considering the large cast of famous faces, this seems reasonable.
  • Andrew Garfield has said the reason he wanted to play Spider-Man in the new reboot film because he apparently was a lot like Peter Parker as a kid, and because, well, he REALLY wanted to play Spider-Man. Let's see how this turns out.
  • Paul Bettany did Legion because he got to play with guns, and got to be the good guy in an action film for once.
  • The Beatles claimed years later that part of the reason they wanted to make the James Bond parody Help was to shoot in the exotic locales (The Swiss Alps, The Bahamas, etc.) and take a paid vacation from Beatlemania. It probably didn't hurt that they allegedly took many opportunities to smoke pot offscreen between takes.
  • Everyone involved in Speed Racer got involved because of this, and it shows. Every single frame of the film is slathered in overwhelming joy and love for the silly 60's anime series.
  • Michael Caine on why he accepted a role in the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D:

 I took the film because I have grandchildren now, and I get to ride around on a giant bumblebee... My grandchildren are... going to say to kids at school, "Can your grandfather do that?"

  • Edward Norton appeared in The Score despite not particularly liking the script because it was likely the only chance he'd ever have to work with both Marlon Brando and Robert de Niro. As it turned out, it was Brando's final onscreen role.
  • Vin Diesel took a voluntary pay cut to jump start the production of of The Chronicles of Riddick 2 with an R rating and avoid Executive Meddling.
  • Victor Buono was a huge fan of the Batman comics, and agreed to play King Tut in the old Batman TV series because of it. Bueno enjoyed playing the villainous Tut so much that, aside from the actors playing the primary four villains (Julie Newmar as Catwoman, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, and Caesar Romero as The Joker), he made more appearances than any other guest-star. He was once asked why he did the show so often and said, "Batman lets me get away with doing the one thing that we're taught not to do in drama school... overacting!"
  • Bob Hoskins has said one of his motivations behind starring in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was that he'd get to be onscreen with Bugs Bunny.
  • Most if not all of the All-Star Cast of Glengarry Glen Ross agreed to be paid less than their usual asking prices because the script was so good.
  • Helen Mirren loved working on Red so much, thanks to the action-heavy role she had in the film, that she has said "I'm there!" to any planned sequel.

In-Universe Examples

  • Kasuka Heiwajima of Durarara got his start in the extremely campy anime Vampire Carmilla Saizou. He was listed on "Top ten actors who don't get to choose their roles," and most people treat it as an Old Shame. Kasuka, however, claims that Carmilla Saizou is an awesome character, and insisted on reprising his role in the movie.

Notes

  1. Tenth Doctor David Tennant was inspired by Fifth Doctor Peter Davison who was inspired by Second Doctor Patrick Troughton.
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