(Shazam: Fury of the Gods) In an interview, Djimon Hounsou spoke about his long-lasting Hollywood career, revealing that he still has to fight for every penny. “Amistad”, “Gladiator”, “Blood Diamond”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and “Fast & Furious 7” are all classics and blockbusters in which Djimon Hounsou has played leading roles. And yet, despite being a world-renowned and talented actor, as seen in the independent film “In America”, which you can stream via Amazon, the 58-year-old must still fight for fair payment for every project, apparently even for productions with a budget in the three-digit range.
When the subject of wages comes up in Hollywood, it is usually in relation to equality and the pay gap between men and women. In a recent portrait by Vogue, Jennifer Lawrence pointed out that although she was handsomely rewarded for the Netflix satire “Don’t Look Up” with 25 million US dollars, she still received five million US dollars less than her co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. Although she is aware that stars of her caliber are generally “overpaid”, she stated, “I still don’t get as much as this guy – because of my vagina?”
But not all of them get paid millions in Hollywood, no matter how talented and famous they are. Djimon Hounsou is one of them. Despite the films mentioned at the beginning, Hounsou told The Guardian that he still doesn’t feel settled and has been betrayed in the dream factory and has to fight for every project and every penny. “I’m still fighting for every dollar. I’ve risen in the industry alongside some people who are doing absolutely fine and have little of my credit. I feel betrayed, very betrayed, both financially and in terms of workload. […] I still have to prove why I need to be paid. They always come to me with a totally inadequate offer: ‘We only have so much for the part, but we love you so much and we really think you can bring so much.’ Viola Davis put it beautifully: She’s won an Oscar, she’s won an Emmy, she’s won a Tony and yet she’s still poorly paid. Movie after movie, it’s a struggle. I’ve never been on a film for which I was paid fairly.”
The salary difference between these Hollywood stars in their joint film projects was also very large, as you can see in the video.
“Hollywood fees: Things are slowly improving for Djimon Hounsou”
The superlatives that attract public attention are the stars who rake in exorbitant fees in the high two or even three-digit million range due to investments. However, they only make up a tiny fraction of the majority of actors. Even well-known and popular personalities such as Jeff Daniels or Michelle Williams earn little in comparison. This is often because although they are celebrated for their craft, the genres they serve, such as drama, do not attract a huge audience.
Luckily for Djimon Hounsou, his financial situation is gradually changing. Above all, his experience with DC films is a positive development:
“Out of everyone, the DC Universe has a certain level of respect. There wasn’t much to the [Wizard] role at first, I played it and it was fun. But the second time, it was a bit more respectful. From time to time they say to themselves, ‘We should give him more, he’s a little undervalued.’ I think they see it themselves. Hey, it’s a fight I have to fight.”
It is indeed a fight, especially in comparison to his highly paid colleagues. However, Hounsou doesn’t have to take a job as a waiter to make ends meet. In 2020, the actor bought a villa for himself and his family in the Westchester district of Los Angeles for two million US dollars. So, he’s not struggling to make ends meet. Rather, it is the relationship that he criticizes.
“Shazam: Fury of the Gods” is currently in cinemas.