One of the largest exports in the United States is the entertainment industry; Movies and television shows produced in the U.S. are shown around the world, turning actors into household names that garner attention everywhere they go. The most bankable stars in Hollywood make more than $50 million for a single film appearance, but have been known to accept far less on a few occasions.
An actor may take huge pay-cuts during their careers for a variety of reasons: sometimes it’s just to get their foot in the door, other times they are extremely passionate about a project and feel they must be a part of it, no matter the cost. Accepting a small financial boon can end up working out for them in the long run, but sometimes it can break the bank, or even their careers.
Some notable Hollywood stars and starlets have taken next to nothing for appearing in some of the most memorable movies, and here are 10 times they have taken a fraction of their worth (which is still more than most will ever make) for a role. You shouldn’t worry about the celebs on this list, though, as their net worths are sure to draw your ire and jealously.
#10 – Jamie Dornan – Christian Grey, “50 Shades of Grey” ($125,000)
“50 Shades of Grey” was a sure thing at the box office, as the book it was based on was one of the highest selling novels of all time; the steamy story has been described by some as glorified pornography, which generated plenty of buzz about which name actor would play the provocative lead, Christian Grey.
The original actor for Christian Grey was supposed to be Charlie Hunnam of “Sons of Anarchy” fame, but he didn’t like the paltry salary for starring in such a big film; Jamie Dornan stepped in to accept the lead role, only receiving $125,000 for the first film in the proposed series, which left a sizable bruise on his bank account. Now that the box office reports are in for “50 Shades of Grey,” Dornan and co-star Dakota Johnson are in line for a raise of an anticipated $12 million each in the next film, although, I’m not sure how many people will actually be in line to see the next film.
#9 – Tom Cruise – Frank T.J. Mackey, “Magnolia” ($100,000)
Tom Cruise has seen some enormous paydays in his career as an actor, banking millions upon millions for his biggest roles; as a matter of fact, Cruise was paid a whopping $75 million for two of his roles in the “Mission: Impossible” series. In between the first and second “Mission Impossible” movies, Cruise would star in three other films, one of which would be a drastic departure in pay.
Two films Cruise starred in during his hiatus between MI films were “Jerry Maguire,” and “Eyes Wide Shut,” which he received $20 million for each starring role: as for the third, it was 1999’s “Magnolia,” which paid Cruise “just” $100,000; the film, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, had modest financial success at the box office. “Magnolia” received solid ratings, and earned Cruise recognition for accepting the film despite the minimal earnings. These days Cruise is mostly recognized for jumping on Oprah’s couch and wearing tinfoil hats: maybe he should have asked for a larger pay check.