Royalty, dethroned: If actors were just like us

Miley, Gwyneth, Drew -- what would these Hollywood insiders have been without their silver spoons?

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    "Con Air"/Touchstone

    Nicolas Cage

    In jail

    Employer: Nellis minimum-security prison in Nevada
    Salary: Owes $500,000 to government for insurance fraud

    To be totally honest, we’re not sure how Nic Cage manages to stay out of jail as is, considering how much money he owes to the government. But if he weren’t a Coppola, Nic would have been a businessman or banker (or possibly a real estate agent, “Glengarry Glen Ross”-style) who would have tried to scam some money off the top in order to build a mausoleum shaped like the Louvre (those ideas don’t just come to famous people, you know) and would have ended up in a minimum-security facility.

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    "He's Just Not That Into You"/New Line

    Drew Barrymore


    Employer: Jezebel.com
    Salary: $35,000 a year, no benefits (not a full-time employee)

    She’s verbose and funny, but there’s always been something slightly off-putting in the way Drew Barrymore presents herself on the big screen. (She’s somewhere between a sex symbol and a gigglepuss.) But like many people of her generation, she’d be great at blogging: a job that would allow her to talk about whatever she wanted and come off as smart and informed, instead of just a Plain Jane surrounded by more attractive costars.

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    Joaquin Phoenix


    Employer: Self-employed
    Salary: Still $50,000 in debt to RISD

    His mom worked at NBC, which gave Joaquin and his brother River (and sister Summer) a leg up in the industry. And Joaquin certainly is a great actor, but he’d also be amazing as a troubled dark young artist, the kind who uses his own blood for creepy pictures about his childhood years in a cult.

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    YouTube screen shot

    Charlie Sheen


    Employer: None
    Salary: $400 welfare check a week

    Charlie Sheen would be in exactly the same place he is now if his father hadn’t starred in “Apocalypse Now,” except “20/20″ wouldn’t care that the rambling drunk guy at the end of the bar was talking about tiger’s blood again.

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    "The Confession"/hulu.com

    Kiefer Sutherland


    Employer: The big guy upstairs
    Salary: $40,000 and whatever is in the collection plate

    Even while doling out justice as Jack Bauer, the fair-haired Kiefer Sutherland had the look of a man of the cloth, deep with guilt over his transgressions. Plus he loves to drink and can’t seem to hold down a relationship, so his calling to God would have been a no-brainer.

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    Gwyneth Paltrow

    Physical therapist

    Employer: Self-employed
    Salary: $76,000

    Without Blythe Danner and Bruce Paltrow to give her that sense of Goop-titlement from an early age, we think Gwyneth would be way more tolerable! She’d be in some kind of physical job, whether that’s a dancer, an athlete or — as we decided — a physical therapist. She definitely has a warmth about her that would make those suffering from injuries or disablements want to get up in the morning and work toward the road to recovery.

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    Angelina Jolie


    Employer: Greenpeace
    Salary: $21,000

    The problem with giving Angelina Jolie another job is that even if her dad weren’t famous, she’d still look like Angelina Jolie. It’s hard to imagine she wouldn’t have been discovered by some modeling agency and worked her way up to “Gia” that way. Still, if we had to guess, Angelina would still have a bit of stalwart missionary in her, and even without adopting a ton of babies she would be joining up with Greenpeace or PETA.

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    "A Little Bit of Heaven"/Davis Entertainment

    Kate Hudson

    Pharmaceutical rep

    Employer: Pfizer
    Salary: $103,000

    She’s just so gosh-durn perky! The daughter of Goldie Hawn and Bill Hudson would have made a great pharmaceutical rep in a cute little power suit, handing out tiny Frisbees with the names of drugs on them. Everyone would want to buy from her, since whatever she’s taking seems to be working. How does any human being smile that much, anyway?

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    "Greenberg"/Scott Rudin Productions

    Ben Stiller

    English professor

    Employer: New York University
    Salary: $171,000

    Ben Stiller is too intellectual and too neurotic to hold down a job not in academia, so if his parents weren’t Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, he would have gone on to teach at a second-tier university with only barely concealed disdain for his life. It would be like in “Lost” when they flash-sideways and Ben Linus was a European history teacher, as if that was something any high school had.

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    YouTube screen shot

    Miley Cyrus

    SeaWorld trainer

    Employer: SeaWorld
    Salary: $50,000

    Even if her father didn’t pen “Achy Breaky Heart,” Miley would have gone into show business. She just wouldn’t have gotten very far. But with her easy smile and talent for projecting her voice at high pitches, she would have been a natural at putting on shows with orcas and dolphins at SeaWorld. And let’s be clear: Next to Hannah Montana, that’s what every girl dreams of becoming when she grows up.