Sean Bean Isn't The Only Actor Turning Down Characters Who Die As Queen Latifah Opens Up About Her Own Contracts

Queen Latifah The Equalizer screenshot
(Image credit: CBS)

It usually doesn’t take too long for an actor in Hollywood to find themselves fit into a mold. Whether it’s Jason Statham making action movies or Mads Mikkelsen playing villains, it’s not uncommon to see actors go through similar experiences on screen with very different characters. Sean Bean has been known as the actor who dies on screen, but apparently that’s been the case with Queen Latifah as well, and she’s done with that.

Sean Bean, the actor who dies on screen a lot, has said in the past that he’s started turning down roles where his character dies in the movie. It’s not that he has any specific issue with dying on screen anymore, Bean is a particular fan of his Fellowship of the Ring exit, but he knows that it’s happened so much that Bean now says him dying in a movie has become predictable, and he doesn’t want people to expect his characters to die. In a recent appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show (via Insider) Queen Latifah reveals that she actually includes a clause in her contracts that her characters will not die. Her reasoning is a bit different, however. She wants to be around for the sequel. Latifah explained…  

You know, what happened at the beginning of my career... my characters died in the movies and apparently I died my ass off. I was like, 'Wait a minute, if I keep dying in these movies, I can't do a sequel.' 'Yo, we got to put a no death clause in my contracts.' Henceforth, we kind of threw it in there.

As reasoning goes, it’s hard to argue with Queen Latifah’s point of view here. We live in a world where franchise filmmaking is where all the money and attention is going. Most major tentpole films, that pay the most money, are also looking for the potential of making more than one movie. If you survive the first one, there’s a pretty decent chance you’ll be in the next one. But if you die in the first movie that’s the end of the jobs and the paychecks.

Queen Latifah certainly isn’t wrong about her early deaths either. When Latifah started to make her transition from the world of music to the big screen in the late ‘90s, she played several characters who died. In three of her first five films, Set It Off, Sphere, and The Bone Collector, she doesn’t make it to the end credits. To be fair though, only of the last of those, being based on a book series, had any real chance of becoming a franchise, but the movie was not well received.  

If she truly has made a point to avoid dying on screen, it happened shortly after that as she tends to survive movies since then. Of course, if she truly has has a clause in her contract requiring her character’s survival, then she’ll have the opposite problem of Sean Bean, in that nobody will ever expect her character to die, which might kill the tension.  

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.