Chris Pine, Daniel Craig, Robert Downey Jr.: 13 Stars Who Juggle Multiple Franchises (GALLERY)
When Superman Returns was auditioning for the role of Clark Kent, the filmmakers has a tough time locking down a rising young actor as none of them wanted to be tied down to a multi-picture commitment that could last a decade or more -- not to mention be typecast as fanboy-bait. No wonder actors were leery of franchise films in general.
However, actors today are so eager to star in franchise movies that several performers are even starring in more than one franchise. Take Chris Pine, for instance: Though he has a solid starring role in the Star Trek movies as the young James Kirk, he also started filming Jack Ryan, a film meant to reboot the Tom Clancy spy franchise with the 32-year-old playing the title CIA agent.
Why do actors suddenly want to be in a franchise, let alone two? For one, the pay is good and sequels mean a guaranteed paycheck for years.
For another, they're almost surefire hits, which in turn make an actor marketable for other movies. And if an actor is in more than one film, he can avoid being typecast; the impulsive, intuitive James Kirk bears little resemblance to the cool, analytical Jack Ryan.
So who else is juggling multiple franchises?
Pine is just one of many stars handling two or more franchises right now.
There's also Daniel Craig, who has both the James Bond movies and the Millennium trilogy, which started with 2011's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Robert Downey Jr. is actually working on three franchises now. Besides starring as Tony Stark in the Iron Man and Avengers films and the titular character in Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes series, he's also signed a deal last fall to play Perry Mason, in what would presumably be a series of movies about the sleuthing defense attorney.
Unemployable a decade ago because his past drug history had made him uninsurable, Downey seems to be making up for lost time and taking advantage of his current box office popularity while it lasts.
Such multitasking seems to come into vogue about once a decade. Ten years ago, the Lord of the Rings movies featured several actors (Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, and Hugo Weaving) who were working on other franchise movies at the same time -- Lee had the Star Wars prequels, McKellen the X-Men movies, and Weaving the Matrix trilogy.
Before that, the 1980s were a heyday for franchise-jugglers like Harrison Ford (who alternated between Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies) and Sylvester Stallone, who developed the Rocky and Rambo franchises.
Nowadays, actors are worried about being thrown out of work altogether by digitization, as movies like Avatar seem to herald a future when actors are replaceable by pixels. No wonder so many stars are taking the path of Avatar's Sam Worthington, who's switching back and forth between his role in James Cameron's otherworldly franchise and his Perseus in the Titans movies. From ancient Greece to the interstellar future, he's got his bases covered for the next few years.
Who's your favorite multiple franchise star? And who do you think is spreading himself too thin? Click through the gallery of multitaskers at the top of this article, then sound off below.