10 Actors Who Stupidly Turned Down Video Games

Jean-Claude Van Damme turned down Mortal Kombat, the fool!

Mortal Kombat Johnny Cage Jean Claude Van Damme Bloodsport
Midway & Warner Bros.

The world of video games has truly come into its own over the last 10-15 years, what with mainstream society learning to accept the medium as a legitimate artform, where even A-list celebrities are lending their faces and voices to rich, character-driven stories.

And while the majority of jobbing actors generally aren't in a position to turn down most roles, these 10 actors all ended up saying no these video game gigs.

There are of course many possible reasons for refusing a job as an actor - bad pay, ethical issues, or scheduling conflicts - and yet considering that most of these roles wouldn't have amounted to much more than a few days in an air-conditioned recording booth, it's tough to reconcile their decision.

Several of the actors on this list mention that they were offered obscene amounts of money to record a voiceover or license their likeness out for a video game, yet for reasons that will never be fully understandable, they ended up rejecting one of the easiest potential paydays of their entire career.

With the gaming industry now considerably more lucrative than Hollywood, it must surely be even tougher to turn down these quick, easy-paying gigs...

10. Kurt Russell - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Mortal Kombat Johnny Cage Jean Claude Van Damme Bloodsport
Marvel Studios

It's no secret that Metal Gear Solid's gruff hero Solid Snake was inspired by Escape from New York's steely protagonist Snake Plissken, who was played so memorably in the film and its sequel, Escape from L.A., by Kurt Russell.

In Metal Gear Solid 2, Snake even disguised himself with the pseudonym "Iroquois Pliskin." Subtle.

The similarities between the characters was significant enough that the movies' rights-holder, CanalPlus, wanted to launch a lawsuit against Konami and Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima.

This was only halted when the director of both movies, John Carpenter, intervened, being both a video game fan and friend of Kojima himself.

Yet when Kojima was ramping up production of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which would star Solid Snake's genetic father Big Boss, Kojima reached out to Russell in the hope of hiring him to voice the part.

Russell, for whatever reason, ended up refusing, and Kojima instead offered it to David Hayter, who voiced Solid Snake in the first two games and was a natural second-best pick.

Hayter of course did a wonderful job in the role, but Russell's distinct vocal tenor would've differentiated Solid Snake and Big Boss in an interesting way, especially as Big Boss went on to be voiced by other performers (Richard Doyle and Kiefer Sutherland) in subsequent games.

Russell turned down what would've been an easy payday and opened him up to a whole new generation of fans.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.