5 Ways Movie Stars Make Money Between Films

Most movie stars like to take breaks between big films, but they don’t necessarily want to stop making money. Check out these five ways movie stars make money between films.

Working as Musicians

Creative types often use their off time pursuing other crafts, such as visual art or music. Keanu Reeves played bass in a band called Dogstar until the Matrix Trilogy hurtled him into a new level of celebrity. Donald Glover, who acts in movies as well as the television series Community, spends quite a bit of time pursuing his career as a rapper under the pseudonym Childish Gambino. By all accounts, Glover is considerably better at his musical craft than Reeves.

Inventing New Technologies

Few actors have successful careers as inventors. 1930′s film star Hedy Lamarr, however, had a flair for mathematics that made her an outstanding inventor as well as an actress. In fact, Lamarr co-created a technology that made it nearly impossible for enemy armies to jam radio communications from US soldiers. The military didn’t fully understand the importance of her invention, but her frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum patent played an instrumental role in developing Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth.

Endorsing Products

Jenna Fischer, who has performed in hit comedies such as Blades of Glory and Hall Pass, made some extra cash by endorsing Proactiv products in 2010. While endorsing products like Proactiv’s dark spot corrector, she also won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance on The Office. That must have been a busy year!

Appearing in Foreign Commercials

A lot of actors don’t want to appear in commercials because they worry the work might tarnish their reputations. When they’re away from home, though, many of them will appear in commercials for extra cash. Jennifer Aniston appeared in a German Heineken commercial. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in a TV ad for an Italian telephone company. One of the weirdest examples, though, comes from Nicholas Cage, who played himself in a commercial for a Japanese gaming device. In the ad, he becomes crazed by blonde triplets, jumps on top of his car while yelling “fever!”, and speeds off without warning.

Investing in Businesses

Movie stars have a lot of money, so they are key targets for any entrepreneur who needs startup capital. Planet Hollywood is probably the most popular example of this. Without investments and endorsements from Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s unlikely that this chain would have become as popular.
Ashton Kutcher has invested his money in companies that seem much hipper by today’s standards. Some of his investments include Foursquare and Spotify. He also bought into Skype before it became popular. Even if he hadn’t gotten rich off his romantic comedies, that well-timed investment would have made him extremely wealthy.
Actors have to do more than just sit around looking attractive when they’re between films. What other celebrities have you seen participating in side projects?

  

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A chat with Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong and creator Dan Harmon of “Community”

America loves an underdog; cult TV fans only love underdogs. So it’s no wonder that suddenly almost everyone seems to love “Community.”

TV’s backhanded salute to two-year colleges comes by its underdog status honestly. Seemingly cursed with underwhelming ratings despite wide acclaim, it was put on indefinite hiatus late last year after an outstanding musical episode gleefully spoofing “Glee.” Hollywood naysayers to the contrary, there was clearly plenty of life left in the highly imaginative, frequently surreal show set at Colorado’s fictional Greendale Community College, a sort of academic “Green Acres” where normal logic is permanently suspended.

The show, which airs Thursday at 8:00/7:00 central and is also viewable via Hulu and NBC.com, returned in mid-March to a surprise — extremely healthy Nielsen numbers (2.2/7 in the advertiser beloved 18-49 demo). The credit, the show’s makers agree, goes largely to the intense activist fan base.

“Community” stars comic Joel McHale (“The Soup”) and an outstanding ensemble cast with an ethnic makeup that, shockingly, actually resembles a typical suburban community college. Aside from the three cast members we spoke to, the show also features gifted former “3o Rock” writer and actor Donald Glover, Daniel Pudi, Alison Brie (aka Trudy Campbell of “Mad Men“), and some guy named Chevy Chase. Speaking of Mr. Chase, just as the original version of this piece was posted, the Bullz-Eye staffed noticed a burgeoning net-storm over what sure sounds like a pretty ugly altercation between Chase and executive producer Dan Harmon with possibly inevitable repercussions that we can only guess at.

Nevertheless, spirits were high one sunny Sunday afternoon in Anaheim just a couple of weeks back at the 2012 edition of WonderCon as a bunch of mostly fannish writers met with just a few of the very talented people behind “Community.” Yvette Nicole Brown plays the outspoken, devoutly religious, and disarmingly maternal Shirley Bennett; Gillian Jacobs is high-strung former anarchist Britta Perry; and “The Hangover” heavy and former real-life practicing M.D. Ken Jeong inhabits the role of Spanish teacher turned security guard Señor Ben Chang. Also present was affable seemingly affable creator and showrunner Dan Harmon. As befits a production that blends real intelligence with anything-for-a-laugh energy, everyone had something interesting to say to a table full of committed fans and this enthusiastic “Community” newbie.

Yvette Nicole Brown on the good ratings news.

2.2 is massive…for us that’s like the stratosphere. You could say, “Oh, we’re so fabulous.” No. The fans are fabulous. This is 100 percent flash mobs, black goatees, Subway sandwich buys. They really blanketed NBC and Twitter with their love for the show. I think it made people who had never heard of us go, “Huh. Let’s see what this is.” I’m praying they come back next week.

Creator Dan Harmon on the surprisingly good ratings for the show’s return episode.

I never thought our ratings made sense when they were as low as they were, but now I don’t think that these make sense. It was like a 50 percent increase or something. It was insane. I don’t know who got a Nielsen box or whose cat stepped on the remote. I hope that we can keep it up.

Ken Jeong on the show’s perceived near-cancellation.

The events that have transpired since December have only brought the show and the fans even closer. We have even more love out of it. In hindsight, this has all been such a blessing. You really get to feel the love right now.

Gillian Jacobs on the the role of improvisation on “Community.”

I would say that there’s a lot of goofing around. There’s not a lot of actual improv with the lines. Maybe two percent of what you see in the show is improv. It’s scripted; we try very hard to get it word perfect. It’s just a lot of us making up stupid songs. Stupid raps… We quote the show to each other and we become obsessed with certain lines and repeat them. Lines that probably nobody else cares or remembers, we repeat daily. It’s like jokes on joke on jokes on jokes and we can’t even remember the origin of them anymore.

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