12 Actors Whose Pay Cuts and Salary Donations Will Leave You Speechless
Some might ask why Hollywood actors get paid so many millions for a single role. Of course, they are talented, but beyond that, their fame can bring all that money back to a film studio. People go to the movies not only to watch films, but also to see their favorite stars on the big screen. Also, film stars can promote their projects through social media in ways that a film studio would need to pay millions in advertising costs for.
1. Chadwick Boseman
After Chadwick Boseman passed away, his co-star from the blockbuster, 21 Bridges, Sienna Miller, described how he made sure she got paid what she had asked for, revealing, “This was a pretty big-budget film, and I know that everybody understands the pay disparity in Hollywood, but I asked for a number that the studio wouldn’t get to. I said, ’I’ll do it if I’m compensated in the right way.’ And Chadwick ended up donating some of his salary to get me to the number that I had asked for. He said that it was what I deserved to be paid.”
The actress continued, “It’s just unfathomable to imagine another man in that town behaving that graciously or respectfully. In the aftermath of this, I’ve told other male actor friends of mine that story, and they all go very, very quiet and go home and probably have to sit and think about things for a while.”
2. George Clooney
Good Night, and Good Luck is a movie that the famous actor starred in, co-wrote, and directed. So for his passion project to be completed, he accepted an upfront payment of just $120,000. We don’t know if he received any bonuses from the movie’s theatrical success, but the film received triumphant reviews. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his directing work.
3. Timothée Chalamet
When the young actor decided to star in Woody Allen’s movie, A Rainy Day in New York, many people had their complaints. And while the film was completed successfully, the actor decided to later donate his entire salary to 3 different charities, including an LGBT center. He said, “I don’t want to profit from my work on the film. As a young actor, I took this role, trying to walk in the footsteps of more seasoned actors I admire.”
4. Brendan Fraser
In 2013, the actor starred in the movie, Gimme Shelter, which tackles the issues of abandonment and homelessness. After the movie concluded, Fraser donated his entire salary to Several Sources Shelters. They are the real-life shelters that the film was based on, and his excellent deed inspired his co-star, James Earl Jones, to donate a significant portion of his salary to the same organization.
5. Will Smith
For his starring role in King Richard, it’s been said that Will Smith made up to $40 million. However, when the studio decided to stream the film on HBO Max, it meant that the rest of the cast would lose their theatrical release bonuses. That’s why the actor agreed to pay them a nice amount from his very own pocket. He wrote checks for actors Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, Jon Bernthal, and Aunjanue Ellis, among others.
6. Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill wanted so badly to work on The Wolf of Wall Street with director Martin Scorsese that he decided to take home very little money. For his entire work in the movie, he was paid just $60,000, while Leonardo DiCaprio made about $10 million.
“They gave me the lowest amount of money possible. That was their offer, and I said, ’I will sign the paper tonight. Fax them the documents tonight. I want to sign them tonight before they change their mind. I want to sign them before I go to sleep tonight, so they legally can’t change their mind,’” the actor revealed.
7. The Big Bang Theory cast
Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg used to make $1 million per episode. However, their castmates, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, were making less than a quarter of that amount. That’s why the original cast members gave up $100,000 of their own money per episode, so their 2 fellow actors could get raises. That meant that they would get $450,000 per episode.
8. Michael Sheen
Michael Sheen has earned not only a lot of money for his work, but also many awards. As of late, he has decided to be a “not-for-profit actor,” meaning that he will donate most of his money from acting to social causes.
“I’m at the stage of my life and career where I have a window of opportunity that will never be this good again. I’m able to get people in a room, I can open doors. I don’t want to look back and think I could have done something with that platform. I could have done something with that money,” Sheen said.
9. Ryan Reynolds
While making Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds felt he needed to have screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese on set with him. He had already worked with them for 6 years before the movie started shooting. However, the studio refused to pay for them, so Reynolds decided to pay for their salary himself.
10. Keanu Reeves
While making The Devil’s Advocate, Reeves was offered a few million to be the movie’s star. However, to land Al Pacino as his co-star, Reeves decided to give up most of his millions, so the studio could afford to hire Pacino. That was simply because he wanted to act next to the iconic actor so badly and didn’t mind making far less money.
11. Ethan Hawke
When Ethan Hawke was offered his role in the purge, the money he was given was very little. However, he was told he would make a nice chunk of the film’s profits. He accepted the part, believing in the movie and its director, and his bet was successful since the movie made $34 million on opening night. That is astounding if you take into account that the movie’s entire budget was $3 million, and Hawke slept on a couch for the entire duration of filming.
12. Jennifer Lopez
She might be one of the world’s biggest pop stars, but Jennifer Lopez was not paid upfront for Hustlers. She produced and starred in it and only received bonuses from the movie’s profits, explaining, “I didn’t get paid a whole bunch of money for Hustlers. I did it for free and produced it. Like Jenny From the Block — I do what I love.”
The actress continued, “This is our movie, where we run things. They know it’s all women producers, directors, writers, and women starring in it. We’ve been watching men take advantage of women in movies for a long time, so it was a fun ride to see the tables turned.”
Do you think that actors should be taking pay cuts more often to help their movies get made? And do you think they could be donating more than they already do?