Djimon Hounsou’s acting career spans more than 30 years, includes two Oscar nominations and roles in numerous prestigious and blockbuster projects such as Amistad, Gladiator, In Amerika, Laura Croft, Blood Diamond, Guardians of the Galaxy, Furious 7, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Shazam!, A Quiet Pace Part II And Day one, Black Adam, rebel moon and this weekend’s Shazam! Anger of the Gods. Still, Hounsou told the Guardian in a recent interview, “I have yet to meet the film that paid me fair.”
He explained, “I’m still struggling trying to make a dollar! I’ve come into the business with some people who are absolutely fine and have very few of my awards. So I feel cheated, hugely cheated, both in terms of finances and workload.”
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Specifically, the actor says, “I’ve gone to studios for meetings and they’re like, ‘Wow, we felt like you just got off the boat and then went back. [after Amistad]. We didn’t know you were here as a real actor.’ When you hear things like that, you can see that some people’s view of you, or what you represent, is very limiting. But it is what it is. It’s up to me to capitalize on that.”
As a result, Hounsou argues, “I still have to prove why I should be paid. They always come down to me very lowly: “We only have so much for the part, but we love you so much and we really think you can bring so much.” “
And he’s not alone. Even actors who broke through at the Oscars find equal pay elusive, Hounsou notes.
“Viola Davis said it beautifully: she won an Oscar, she won an Emmy, she won a Tony, and she still can’t get paid. [Davis won a Grammy in February for EGOT status.] Movie after movie, it’s a battle. I have yet to meet the movie that paid me fair.
The actor talks about his experience with the Shazam! franchise has been a little different.
“Out of all of them, the DC Universe has a certain amount of respect,” he said. “In the beginning there wasn’t much to the role and I did it and it was fun. But the second time it was a bit more respectful.”
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