Hollywood payouts are enough to turn most movie-watchers green with envy. Face it: it’s impossible not to think about how it must feel to wear designer clothes on the red carpet or live in a beachfront mansion. However, not even Hollywood megastars make big bucks every time they step on set.
Plenty of big-name actors have accepted relatively small sums of money for their starring roles—pocket change when compared to multi-million dollar contracts they’d typically net. Whether their earnings were due to poor negotiating or they simply invested in a passion project, these actors and actress got surprisingly little money for their work on some wildly successful films…
1. Harrison Ford (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope): Ford made only $10,000 total for his role as Han Solo in the first Star Wars film. After the film’s success, he was able to negotiate a little pay bump—to the tune of $100,000—for the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.
2. George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck): Clooney was only paid one dollar for writing, directing, and starring in this movie—yep, one single Washington. He even mortgaged his home to help finance the film. Now that’s a passion project!
3. Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry): Swank won an Academy Award and plenty of recognition from her peers in Hollywood for this physically taxing role, which required her to lose a dangerous amount of weight! However, she only earned $3,000 for all her intense effort.
4. Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips): Abdi made $65,000 for his role as the fearsome Somali pirate, Muse. While that may not exactly seem like pocket change, his payout paled in comparison to the $50 million that costar Tom Hanks earned.
5. Cast of Paranormal Activity: Although this film raked in nearly $200 million worldwide, Paranormal Activity had one of the lowest budgets of any movie ever made. That’s probably because the each cast member was initially paid a mere $500 for their work!
6. Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman): To sniff at Gadot’s $300,000 payday for her lead role as the DC Comics icon would be an insult to every empty wallet. But considering that Ben Affleck, who starred as her Justice League-leading comrade in Batman V Superman, made $43 million, and her pay becomes a head-scratcher.
This goes to show you that not every actor you see on the silver screen is earning a lot of money. Sometimes, the underpaid actors and actresses put passion before a paycheck—and the audience reaps the reward.
Share these surprisingly underpaid actors with your friends below!