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"A lot of the voice actors in this one have said things to me like, 'Finally, a show I can show my family!'"
Director's DVD Commentary for the Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer dub

Andy Bigstar stars in dozens of films, but all of them are R-rated, and with good reason. So when Andy's kids get to be of moviegoing age, Andy understandably doesn't want them to watch daddy ripping out the lungs of hordes of Mooks and having steamy sex scenes with the Love Interest (who is also not their mother). However, he does want them to be able to see Daddy on the big screen, so what's he to do? Simple. He proceeds to make one or more G- and PG-rated family films of varying quality so he can share at least some of his oeuvre with them.

This often overlaps with Parental Bonus. Kind of contrasts with Old Shame, only most of their work becomes an Old Shame.

Rated "G" for Gangsta may be a subtrope if the performer decides to focus their career on family-friendly fare rather than the work that made them famous.

For some reason, this often gets conflated with Money, Dear Boy, despite the fact that children are in no part of the definition. While an actor might do a children show because it pays well, it's only this trope if the actors motivation is explicitly based on producing a work that can be enjoyed by children (usually their own). Can be the justification of WTH? Casting Agency.

Examples of So My Kids Can Watch include:


Comic Books

  • Phil and Kaja Foglio, of Girl Genius fame, have said that XXXenophile will probably be on hiatus till at least after their kids grow up.

Film

  • Alec Baldwin said this was why he wanted to be in Beetlejuice. One would wonder how scarred said children are.
    • Considering Alec Baldwin is known for having a sardonic sense of humor, he might have been joking. His role in Thomas the Tank Engine is likely an example of this too.
  • Johnny Depp, in numerous roles. He still manages to remain incredibly bizarre (even creepy) in these roles.
    • In an interview, he confessed that it wasn't fully motivated by this trope, but didn't want "the DVDs for his movies all at the back of the shelf".
  • Wild Wild West is reported to be this.
  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson seems to be becoming notorious for this. Johnson once recounted a story on Late Show With David Letterman about how he asked the studio to make him a special copy of The Scorpion King -- only his scenes, and cutting anything that wouldn't get a G rating, because his very young daughter wanted to see "Daddy's movie." This special cut ran about 5 minutes.
  • Robert Rodriguez. Do you know him as the director of Sin City or of Spy Kids? The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl was even "cowritten" by his kids.
    • Antonio Banderas also said he did Spy Kids so his kids could watch.
  • Sir Alec Guinness allegedly did Star Wars because of this trope, and would later resent the fact that it became one of his most famous roles. Peter Cushing had a similar reason, but it was more for kids in general.
  • Robin Williams. He didn't start doing it right after his first son, Zachary, was born (1982), though. But after his other two children, Zelda (1989) and Cody (1991) were born, he did stuff like Hook, Aladdin, Fern Gully... (Mrs. Doubtfire might also count as a family film, albeit one that got a lotta crap past the radar). Williams has gone back to the more adult roles recently, but he still does a few kiddie flicks here and there.
  • On the DVD Commentary for Princess Mononoke, Billy Bob Thornton said that he wanted to do something his kids could watch, although some wouldn't call Mononoke a kid's movie.
    • In an interview Thornton later admitted that this move had backfired, calling Mononoke one of the "most violent things I'd ever seen."
  • Eddie Murphy. Watch Daddy Day Care. Now watch Trading Places. In fact, just watch Trading Places.
  • Michael Gambon accepted the role of Prof. Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films specifically so that his grandchildren wouldn't go through the shame of being related to someone who had turned down being Dumbledore. As revealed on the interviews to Prisoner of Azkaban, the kids today aren't impressed by Samuel Beckett.
    • Similarly, Robbie Coltrane has said "Can you imagine if I'd gone home and said 'Children, I was offered the part of Hagrid, but I turned it down'? Large actor found in the Clyde."
    • Ditto with Emma Thompson, who played Professor Trelawney.
    • Gambon's predecessor, Richard Harris, was also persuaded by his grandchildren to accept the role of Dumbledore.
      • He initially turned it down because he knew he wasn't going to be around for seven movies. His 11 year old granddaughter heard about it and threatened never to speak to him again. He changed his mind on the grounds that he couldn't do without her.
    • Gary Oldman's own words were something along the lines of "Wanting to do something I could finally take my kids to see."
    • Reportedly, Alan Rickman did the movies because his nieces asked him to. Can you say "best uncle ever"?
      • Even then, he at first refused the role (Rickman actually doesn't like playing villainous characters), but was persuaded when JK Rowling revealed to him, privately, something about Snape's character, most likely his true motivations and allegiance. (At the time, the seventh book had yet to be written.)
  • Tim Burton doing Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can be justified by the birth of his son and the death of his father.
  • Gary Oldman took the role of Doctor Smith in The Film of the Series of Lost in Space so his kids could watch it. Oh dear... Of course, he's probably the best thing in the movie.
    • No wonder he did Harry Potter. If that's the only thing his kids had seen him in, he was probably determined to prove to them he was actually good at his job (though some people do argue that he didn't do that impressive a job there either...)
  • Paul Walker admitted while promoting the very R-rated Running Scared that he made Eight Below (which opened the week before) so he could take his daughter, nieces and nephews to a movie premiere.
  • Richard E. Grant has been in many fine and not so fine works, but the one that really excited his daughter was Spice World.
  • Tommy Lee Jones became Two-Face in Batman Forever because his son was a big fan of Harvey Dent.
  • Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories and Jack And Jill.
  • Robert Patrick, aka the T-1000 described his part in Bridge to Terabithia with precisely these words.
  • Tim Roth was best-known for playing murderers, robbers, and badasses in general but did The Incredible Hulk once his sons were old enough to start going to his movies. He was, however, still typecast as the villain. (Interestingly, he turned down the role of Professor Snape in favor of the Planet of the Apes remake...)
  • Welsh heavyweight thesp Richard Burton wanted to do a film that he could show his kids, so he got his novelist mate Alistair McLean to knock off a rollicking World War Two adventure screenplay for him. The result - Where Eagles Dare - remains one of his best-known parts...
  • Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl was made because he'd just had a daughter and wanted to make a movie that wasn't filled with crude humor. Unfortunately, a lot of his fans were angered by their hero "going soft", and he was forced to make a return to form. Watching the movie with the fact that it was made for and about Smith's daughter in mind does make the movie much sweeter though.
    • Smith also inverts this trope by not making a particular movie for his kids, specifically a Dogma sequel he'd been kicking around, which would probably have dealt somehow with 9/11.
  • James Marsden took the role for Prince Edward in Enchanted so that he and his kids could have something to watch together.
  • Raul Julia took the role of M. Bison from the Street Fighter film as a gift to his children. He already knew he was dying and wanted to earn a decent final salary to leave behind. He let his sons choose his last role from the ones he was currently being offered, and they, fans of the series, chose that one. And did he give himself a send-off. Fans of Raul Julia weren't pleased that he was sent off with such a horrible movie... but those that could slog through the crap he had to deal with were treated to one of the most DELICIOUS supervillains ever.
  • Liam Neeson signed on for 2010's Clash of the Titans remake solely because his children were really into Classical Mythology and thought it would be cool for him to play Zeus.
  • Paul Bettany signed on for Inkheart largely because his kids liked the book. He also lamented the fact that the only role for which his kids were actually impressed by was his short voice acting cameo in Iron Man as JARVIS.
  • There are a number of examples connected to Twilight:
    • Michael Sheen took a part as one of the Volturi vampires partially because his daughter is a fan.
    • Peter Facinelli took his part partially for his daughters and his wife.
    • Christopher Heyerdahl took the role of Marcus because his nieces were fans.
  • Zack Snyder's reason for doing Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of ga Hoole.
  • Geoffrey Rush says he did the Pirates of the Caribbean films for this very reason. Arrrrrrr.
    • "I made this movie where a small child is hanged without a trial within the first five minutes so my kids can watch." Not to mention the countless, barely-disguised sexual references. Does the MPAA even have a radar when it comes to Disney?
      • He was probably referring to the first Pirates film when he said that, not the sequels.
  • Tyler Mane wasn't familiar with X-Men before he appeared in the first movie; he prepped for the role with his son, who was a big fan of the comics.
  • Mark Wahlberg did the film Invincible so that his kids could actually see him in a film (most of his films before then were rated R and combined with Old Shame, wouldn't let his kids watch those earlier films).
  • Word of God says this is initially why Viggo Mortensen signed on for The Lord of the Rings: He was offered the part but had not yet read the books, and it was his son who insisted he play it. He read the books on the flight to New Zealand, and says he was glad his son was so adamant about it. (As a side note, he got so into the role that, while talking between shots, Peter Jackson called him 'Aragorn' for a solid twenty minutes before he caught on. He and his son also accidentally ran over a rabbit, so he cooked it and they ate it.)
  • Bruce Willis said in an interview this was pretty much the reason he starred in the 2000 movie The Kid.
  • Wayne Knight said he did Space Jam so kids in general would know him as something other than "the bad guy from Jurassic Park". He was aware, however, that adults would still view him as Newman.
  • Michael Madsen did Free Willy so his sons could see him in a movie (most of his previous roles had been in violent R-rated movies such as Thelma and Louise and Reservoir Dogs). It also turned out to be one of the few movies that he's proud of.
  • Meryl Streep starred in Mamma Mia specifically to embarass her children.
  • Dustin Hoffman of all people lobbied for the role of Mario in Super Mario Bros so his kids could see him in that role. DUSTIN HOFFMAN!
    • Dustin Hoffman wasn't in that movie, I believe you meant Dennis Hopper.
  • Joel Mchale said this was why he did Spy Kids: All The Time In The World
  • Mary Steenburgen played Clara Clayton in Back to The Future: Part III (and subsequently in the animated series) because her children begged her. This was quite fortunate for the filmmakers, who regarded her as their first and only choice for the part.
  • For a directorial example, Martin Scorsese made Hugo because he wanted something he could take his youngest daughter and his granddaughter to.
  • Dana Carvey made The Master of Disguise as his first starring role after recovering from a botch heart operation specifically so he could make a film for his kids. Unfortunately, its lack of appeal for adults meant it didn't make for much of a comeback...

Literature

Live Action Television

  • John Simm, whilst noted and having achieved critical acclaim for his serious dramatic work, accepted his role as Doctor Who baddie the Master in order to impress his son. There's also a suspicion that he rather enjoyed the chance to ham it up in the process. This is a recurring theme for many British thespians who have appeared on the show, many (almost ruefully) noting that whilst they may be up there with the great Hamlets of the age, their appearance on Doctor Who is the only role their kids are interested in.
    • Simm's episodes were so filled with Nightmare Fuel that he (reputedly) ended up forbidding his son from watching. His son likely got some idea of what happened in the episodes, given he got a lot of attention from his schoolmates because his dad was the Master.
    • Similarly, whilst not actually having children himself, Christopher Eccleston accepted the role of the Ninth Doctor in the new series partly because he wanted a chance to spread his wings and do something light-hearted and fun that kids could watch after being known for his largely dark, brooding roles. Even then, his Doctor was pretty much the darkest and broodingest one yet. He went on record saying what touched him the most was the responses he got from children who watched him.
    • In a kind of related example, many of the actors appearing in the new series also come on the show because they used to religiously watch the show as kids and the chance to fulfill an old childhood ambition was just too good to pass up. Most notably, David Tennant -- the Tenth Doctor -- has publicly remarked that the entire reason he got into acting was so that he could one day play the Doctor.
      • If Andy Bigstar wasn't a fan when he grew up, then his kid is now. It's kind of a win-win for the producers.
    • In a non-acting variant, Emmy-winning writer Richard Curtis admitted that he wrote the episode "Vincent and the Doctor" for this exact reason.
    • Example with a less famous actor in the classic series: Mary Peach appeared in "The Enemy of the World" because her kids wouldn't believe she was a real actress until she'd been on Doctor Who. Another actor in a Hartnell/Troughton-era story said pretty much the same thing.
  • Fred Astaire proactively asked for a guest appearance on the original Battlestar Galactica Classic TV series for this very reason.
  • Larry David guest-starred in an episode of Hannah Montana along with his daughters, because they're fans of the show.
  • Jackie Earle Haley--whose recent roles have included a pedophile in Little Children, Rorschach in Watchmen, and Freddy Krueger in the rebooted A Nightmare on Elm Street--has said that he enjoys his role on Human Target because it's something his daughter can watch.
  • Real headline: "Cindy Crawford: ‘Wizards of Waverly Place Made Me Famous With My Kids’".
  • Frank Langella appeared in the opening three parter of season 2 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because his kids were fans. Indeed, he even asked to be uncredited so people wouldn't think he was doing it for money.
    • He also played Skeletor in the live-action He-Man film for this reason. Of course, that was for more than just his kids. Langella has often identified Skeletor as his favorite role he's ever played, relishing the unique opportunities it offered.
  • Jon Stewart laments on The Daily Show about trying to get on his kids' favorite tv show. Because the negotiations often take months, the kids aren't interested in the show anymore by the time he makes a guest appearance.
  • Jason David Frank claimed that one of the reasons he returned in Power Rangers Dino Thunder was so that his still not-yet-born daughter could watch him later.
  • Joshua Malina took a guest role on ICarly, including a bikini dog food fight, for this reason.
    • May have been the reason for Jane Lynch's appearance as Pam Puckett, Sam's mom.
      • Jane Lynch's reason was sweeter and more awesome at the same time. In her wedding vows, she promised her partner to try and get tickets for the show for their kids. The show doesn't have a studio audience, so tickets were an impossibility. However, when the producer heard that, he was so flattered he decided to find a role for her so she could bring them. Up until that point, he had never planned to show Sam's mom on-screen, because he could never find an actress good enough. But when he thought about it, he realized Jane Lynch would be perfect for the role, and wrote the episode for her.
  • Otto Preminger played Mr. Freeze in Batman for the sake of his six-year-old twins.
  • Inverted with Sota Fukushi, lead actor of Kamen Rider Fourze: He got the role to please family members who are fans of the Kamen Rider franchise... those family members being in fact his parents.
    • Anna Tsuchiya, who performs the series' theme song, plays it straight -- her sons are big Kamen Rider fans, and so she decided 'why not?' and signed on.

Music

  • They Might Be Giants released four albums of children's music (three of which are educational) after becoming known for their adult-focused work. Not surprisingly, their adult fans enjoy them too, to the point where kid song "No!" ended up on their "Best Of"-style Dial-A-Song compliations.
  • Akon stated Michael Jackson's cancelled "This Is It" tour was partially made for his kids to finally see dad performing on stage.
  • Allegedly, Courtney Love walked into the recording studio and said that she wanted to write a song that she could sing to her daughter. This is Kurt Cobain's wife, with similar musical aesthetics. What came out of the recording session was the delightfully candy-coated "Heaven Tonight".
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the musical Starlight Express with his two kids in mind.

Video Games

  • Apparently, James Earl Jones acted in both Under a Killing Moon and Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun because his grand-kids were video game fans.
  • This is apparently one of the reasons why Hideo Kojima decided to include the Ape Escape crossover minigame Snake VS Monkey in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the other being a chance to sneak in some good Self-Parody.
  • Io Interactive, who made the Hitman games, have often said in interviews that this was the reason they created Mini Ninjas.
  • Sean Connery returned to the role of James Bond in the video game adaption of From Russia with Love for his grandkids.
  • Inverted in one case for Temuera Morrison; he voiced the player character in Republic Commando, likely the most mature Star Wars game ever, but in his interview unlocked at the end of the game, he expressed hope that his son would take an interest in the game because of his role in it.
  • Double Fine added profanity and gore filters to Brutal Legend because of a letter they received from a Tim Schafer fan asking them to make their awesome games appropriate enough fir his kid.


Web Original

  • In Tobuscus' earlier YouTube videos, he was unkempt, frequently unshaven, and inclined to profanity; clearly going for a "bad boy" vibe. Since 2010, however, he has become almost entirely comedic, never swears, and is otherwise squeaky clean, save for his habitually tousled hair. Not coincidentally, this is about the time when his teenage niece, Ciara, started appearing in his videos.


Western Animation

  • Several of the actors in Superman: Doomsday participated for this reason, even though it's not exactly kid friendly, being an adaptation of The Death of Superman (name says it all).
  • Simon Pegg said in a blog entry that one of the reasons he took a role in the 3rd Ice Age movie is because he wanted to make a movie his godchildren, nieces, and then soon-to-be-born daughter could watch before they turn 13.
    • Ray Romano also claimed that he took the role in the first movie because his children were too young to understand his other work at the time.
  • While much of the adults in the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon series casts could be described as such, the one that sticks out is Wilmer Valderamma, who currently voices the lead character on Handy Manny on the Disney Junior block so his younger brother could watch something he was involved in (apparently, the younger brother would be too young to have known he played Fez on That 70s Show).
  • Jack Black and Kung Fu Panda, and similarly, Ben Stiller in Madagascar.
    • Gary Oldman in Kung Fu Panda 2 - where he gets to be both a villain, and in a movie his three kids can watch! Yowza.
  • Cheech Marin did voices for Oliver and Company and The Lion King for this reason. He also suggested that his friend Tommy Chong be Shenzi; unfortunately he was unable to get a hold of him.
  • Chazz Palminteri stated this was why he did his VA role in Lady and the Tramp II.
  • Malcolm McDowell said that he played the role of Dr. Calico in Bolt so his kids could watch him act (although he has worked in family-oriented films and TV shows on numerous occasions).
  • David Bowie played Lord Royal Highness in SpongeBob SquarePants because his daughter Alexandria is a fan of the show. This also the reason why Alec Baldwin was cast as Dennis in the movie.
  • James Woods wanted to play Hades in Disney's Hercules... and all incarnations in any outlets thereafter... to make his children happy and so they can watch their daddy in something appropriate. Same with Danny De Vito as Phil, in the same film, quoted in the 'Art Of' book as saying, "If my kids could watch it and say, 'Daddy was in this movie', that would be pretty cool, ya know?"
  • Up until probably season 8 (or thereabout) of The Simpsons, pretty much the only way the writers could get their idols of 50+ years on the show, was if they had kids or grandkids who watched the show.
  • Adam Pascal singing for the Dragon in The Backyardigans
  • George Carlin, the guy who did "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television", narrated Thomas the Tank Engine and played Mr. Conductor on Shining Time Station.
  • Robert Downey, Jr.. took the role of Lois's brother (The Fat Guy Strangler) on Family Guy because his son is a fan of the show. (That's assuming that Family Guy is appropriate for kids in its own right).
    • Well, his son was a teenager at the time, so he wasn't exactly a child.
  • In an interview Jane Lynch in Entertainment Weekly regarding her doing a voice on season 3 of Phineas and Ferb, as she said she enjoys the show as much as her daughter. Michael Douglas also did the show.

Notes

  1. Christopher Robin, in fact. Although when the stories were published and Christopher grew older, this bit him in the ass.
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