As I submitted yesterday afternoon to yet another dental appointment (last Thursday’s appointment having been cancelled), Movieline‘s Stu VanAirsdale posted an article called “9 Most Memorable Paycheck Roles in Modern Cinema.” Stu was inspired by the news about John Malkovich and Frances McDormand joining Transformers 3…good God!

Since ’04 I’ve written a good 20 or 25 stories that note, mock or lament the taking of a paycheck job by this or that actor (or director). The vibes exuding from these performances can be fascinating — a mix of profound inner disgust and a professional attitude that says “I need this money to send my kid to the very best university so screw it…here I am! And I’m going to do the job well!”

I don’t have any issues with Stu’s unsurprising choices (Peter O’Toole in Caligula, “Chewy” Ejiofor in 2012, Michael Caine in Jaws 4: The Revenge, etc.)

I could add a few off the top of my head — Liam Neeson in Clash of the Titans and The A-Team; Sam Mendes directing the next Bond film; Guillermo del Toro directing The Hobbit — (you’ll never convince me that Del Toro feels the same enthusiasm in adapting another Tolkien book that he felt in making Pan’s Labyrinth or The Devil”s Backbone, or in producing The Orphanage even); Cate Blanchett in the ’08 Indiana Jones film that was ruined by George Lucas; and Vince Vaughn in Fred Claus.

I’m running this to ask which actors and actress do HE readers believe merits the title of all-time Paycheck King and Queen — the actor or actress whose name is instantly and unmistakably synonymous with the term.

The easy calls, of course, are Robert De Niro and Michael Caine. But is there an actor/actress who measures up to these two who’s been lurking in the shadows? Who hasn’t gotten the recognition he/she deserves?