Despite what Jeff Bridges and Matthew McConaughey have been working for decades to disprove, being an actor is hard. For even the smallest roles, there's typically an intense amount of work going on behind-the-scenes to make that performance a reality. The best actors work tirelessly at their craft, often going to insane lengths to get into character.
Then again, some actors are so good at what they do that they could show up on set drunk, high, and belligerently pants-less, but when the cameras start rolling, they're able to turn it on and deliver the goods.
Because when you're a truly brilliant actor, you don't necessarily have to bring your A-game to turn out a brilliant performance. And it's not necessarily just actors, either. Some of the greatest musicians of all time, including Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye, made some of the greatest albums of all time for no other reason than they were contractually obligated to do so. That's the difference between a hard-working, competent entertainer and a damn genius.
The following actors were somehow able to take care of business and put some amazing performances on film while being as lackadaisical about their roles as someone can be while still having a pulse.
9. Edward Norton - The Italian Job
Contractual obligations don't always create great artistry, but in the case of Edward Norton and his behind-the-scenes battles with Paramount over his required involvement in The Italian Job, it cemented the fact that Norton is a consummate professional who's nearly impervious to giving a bad performance.
Norton wanted nothing to do with the remake of The Italian Job, but since he'd signed a three-picture deal before making his onscreen debut in Primal Fear, Paramount threatened to sue him for millions of dollars if he refused to make the movie. After much back-and-forth between the actor and the studio, Norton eventually caved and agreed to participate. Though he was reportedly very businesslike and amiable during filming, he refused to do promote the movie afterward.
You can almost feel the behind-the-scenes disdain seeping out of the screen whenever Norton is present, which imbues his slimy villain with a natural sense of mischief. He doesn't ever come off as detached, though it's likely his natural charisma simply didn't allow that to happen.
The Italian Job may rank just outside of Norton's top 10 performances, but considering the circumstances, it's hard to imagine anyone else coming in and playing the character of Steve Frazelli any better.