15 Actors Who Took a Pay Cut for a Movie

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON March 15th, 2018

15 Actors Who Took A Pay Cut For A Movie

Being a major star in Hollywood has its own perks – immense fame, roaring fans, colossal publicity and of course, gargantuan salaries. While an acting role does guarantees quite a cumbersome payday, there have been a few instances when that has not been the case. Take a look at the 15 actors who took a pay cut for a movie from their luxurious salaries for the sake of a movie they wanted to be a part of:


15. Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club

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The amount of dedication of Matthew McConaughey for his role of HIV/AIDS patient Ron Woodroof is a widespread knowledge among movie-goers. The American actor lost 40 pounds to accurately portray his role but it is often overlooked that McConaughey merely earned $200,000 for the movie.

Not only that, but the actor also refused a $15 million offer to be the leading man of the film-adaption of Magnum, PI so he could star in Dallas Buyers Club. Was it all worth it? It definitely was as McConaughey bagged his first Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the latter.


14. Keanu Reeves (The Devil’s Advocate)

Keanu Reeves The Devil’s Advocate

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The humble actor has made it clear numerous times that money does not allure him at all. In fact, Keanu donated a huge chunk of his salaries from The Matrix among the visual effects team of the franchise.

In another instance of financial sacrifice, Reeves agreed to take a gigantic pay-cut worth millions of dollars for his role in The Devil’s Advocate so the studio could afford Al Pacino in the movie as well.


13. Ethan Hawke (The Purge)

Ethan Hawke The Purge

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Believe it or not, Ethan Hawke was paid next to nothing for his starring role in The Purge. The $3 million budget flick was able to miraculously earn $89.3 million at the box office since Hawke was able to see something special in the project.

Now extended to a money-making franchise, Hawke revealed that all was not well during the stages of the first installment as he states,

“There were no perks. No trailer, no driver, no BS, just a great role, a great director. Hell, on The Purge, I slept on his couch the whole shoo.”


12. Bill Murray (Rushmore)

As soon as Bill Murray read the script of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, he adored it so much that he not only immediately accepted the part of Herman Blume but offered to financially help the movie’s production.

Murray happily agreed to be paid only $9000 for the movie. As shocking that may seem, he also wrote a check for $25,000 in order to shoot a helicopter crashing scene once Walt Disney refused to do so. Though the scene was never shot, Anderson still has the check uncashed.


11. Will Ferrell (Anchorman 2)

Will Ferrell Anchorman 2

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It had been 9 long years since Anchorman was released and as Paramount Pictures was on the verge of making a sequel, a lot had changed. Particularly, Will Ferrell was no longer the only major star aboard the project as so were his co-stars Steve Carell and Paul Rudd.

Fearing that the studio might not be able to afford everyone and the sequel might even face a risk of cancellation, all three mutually agreed to take a pay-cut so the movie could transition from a script into a reality.


10. George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck)

George Clooney Good Night, and Good Luck

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Quite hard to believe that a bankable star such as George Clooney would take a pay-cut for a movie yet it happened. For his passion project Good Night, and Good Luck in which the Hollywood A-lister starred, directed and co-wrote, the actor only accepted $120,000.

Clooney’s financial sacrifice did not go in vain as the movie went on to earn marvelous reviews and got nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.


9. Amitabh Bachchan (Black)

Amitabh Bachchan Black

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The pay-cut trend even extends to Bollywood. With an illustrious career that has spanned nearly five decades, Amitabh Bachchan is second to none when it comes to bedazzling the audience with a dramatic performance. Surely a great actor of his stature charges a hefty salary but for the 2005 drama film Black, Bachchan did not demand even a single penny for his role.

Following the release of the Bollywood flick, the veteran actor won the Best Actor award at the 53rd National Film Awards and explained that working with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was sufficient as a salary.


8. Jack Black (Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny)

Jack Black Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny

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Along with a successful movie career, Jack Black also earns a living from rock and roll. As the lead vocalist and guitarist of comedic rock band Tenacious D, he has gained quite a cult following and even starred as himself in the fictional biopic of his band.

Black being a bigger star, there was obviously going to be an enormous gap between him and his co-star and band member Kyle Gass’s salaries. As a gesture of solidarity, Black declined his usual $12 million fees and accepted a mere $1 million which was further divided between him and Gass.