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April 13, 2023
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” actor Djimon Hounsou, who has been acting for 32 years, said he is frustrated by Hollywood’s pay scale and that he has struggled for money at times.
“I’m still struggling to try to make a dollar!” he said during an interview with The Guardian.
“I’ve come up in the business with some people who are absolutely well off and have very little of my accolades. So I feel cheated, tremendously cheated, in terms of finances and in terms of the workload as well.”
Hounsou said he has felt disrespected on many occasions and has had to fight for the pay packet he feels he deserves.
“I still have to prove why I need to get paid,” he told the media outlet. “They always come at me with a complete low ball: ‘We only have this much for the role, but we love you so much and we really think you can bring so much’… Film after film, it’s a struggle. I have yet to see the film that paid me fairly.”
Hounsou went on to say that no-one recognised or appreciated his performances, he feels that there is limited work for black actors and he had to portray a slave 3 times in 5 years.
“I felt seriously cheated,” Hounsou said.
“Today, we talk so much about the Oscars being so white, but I remember there was a time where I had no support at all: no support from my own people, no support from the media, from the industry itself. It felt like: ‘You should be happy that you’ve got nominated,’ and that’s that.”
Hounsou’s stock shot up after he started in the Steve Spielberg film, “Amistad” where he played a rebellious slave. However, Hounsou said he felt aggrieved that Anthony Hopkins was given an award ahead of him.
Over his 32-year career, Hounsou has starred in “Gladiator,” “Furious 7,” “Tomb Raider,” “Aquaman” along with many other movies.
He did say he enjoyed working on “Shazam!” sequel.
“Out of them all, the DC universe has a level of respect,” he remarked. “There wasn’t much to the role at first… I did it and it was fun. But the second time around it was a little more respectful.”
Hounsou said he holds out hope of getting more prominent roles and more screen time.
“From time to time, they themselves make the point of saying: ‘We should give him more, he’s a little underappreciated.’ I think they recognise that themselves,” he explained. “Hey, it’s the struggle I have to overcome!”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: NEW YORK POST