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SmashTheState's avatar

Are small, independent, DTV films a sign that an actor's star is fading?

Asked by SmashTheState (12818points) September 18th, 2015

I’m watching Cooties right now and enjoying it in a mindless way. I’ve been looking forward to it for months. It’s a fluffy, utterly inconsequential, mildly funny, ridiculous zombie/outbreak movie which all hangs on the schadenfreude of watching annoying and unlikable children getting killed in many hilarious ways.

The movie stars Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, and Jorge Garcia, amongst others. My question is this: Do you think starring in small indepdendent DTV films like this is a sign that a previously A-list actor (like Elijah Wood) is on the way down and desperately needs a paycheque, or is it a sign that an actor has already made it and so has the freedom to do small, fun projects the total budgets of which wouldn’t pay for the catering on the set of Lord of the Rings?

The last film I saw Rainn Wilson in was the criminally underrated Super, which was also a tiny, independent, and thoroughly entertaining film. I haven’t seen him doing any big Oscar-bait stuff since The Office ended, which argues that he’s either broke and needs money badly enough to take anything which crosses his agent’s desk, or that he has so much work that he can afford to take oddball roles in films almost no one will see.

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8 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

These are not conventionally handsome actors.
I’d say they are probably financially comfortable and taking the most interesting roles that are offered to them.

A broke/desperate actor usually also has a rap sheet, IMO.

ragingloli's avatar

Not necessarily.
Some actors are not in it for the money, but for the fun of it.

Now, you could make that argument for actors who elect to be featured in an Adam Sandler Film, like Al Pacino in “Jack and Jill”, arguably one of the worst movies ever made.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Well if Elijah Wood gets residuals from the Lord of the Rings then I can’t imagine that money will ever be a concern for him again.

I think blanket statements can’t really be made here. Certain some actors doing low budget or direct-to-video stuff are on the downward slide of their careers. Some may just do them for the hell of it. I know, for instance, Christopher Walken has stated that he will rarely turn down a role he’s offered, no matter what the film is, simply because he enjoys the experience of making movies.

SmashTheState's avatar

@Darth_Algar For people who have grown accustomed to wealth, there’s no such thing as “too much.” You can shove an awful lot of millions up your nose, as I’m sure the freshly-bankrupt Fifty Cent can attest.

Darth_Algar's avatar


True as that may be, I wouldn’t necessarily assume that’s always the case. For what it’s worth Elijah Wood has been doing these smaller, indie type (and even direct-to-video) films for years, even during the midst the the LotR run.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I agree with @ragingloli. An actor might want to work with a particular director or an actor they really like and accept a project because they’re involved. Similarly, I’ve seen low budget Australian films with high profile actors in them. Sometimes the actors want to participate in films made in their own country for various reasons.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fading and needing a paycheck.

ibstubro's avatar

Elijah Wood has an estimated net worth between $18–30,000,000
Rainn Wilson estimated $14,000,000.
Jorge Garcia at least $5.

I quoted the lowest figures I could find. There are sources out there that list all 3 actors in the nine-digit wealth brackets.
None seem to need to take roles to pay the electric bills.

I think they’re all enjoying being young and wealthy while staying busy doing work that interests them.

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