Despite what you may think, not every starring role includes a million-dollar paycheck.
Jennifer Lopez said she starred in "Hustlers" for free.
To write, direct, and star in "Good Night, and Good Luck," George Clooney received $3 upfront.
John Candy reportedly held "a little resentment" over being paid just $414 for his iconic cameo in "Home Alone."
Prior to appearing in "Home Alone," the actor and comedian had landed starring roles in "Splash," "Spaceballs," and "Uncle Buck," among others. In "Home Alone," Candy offers Kevin's mom, Kate, played by Catherine O'Hara, a ride back to Chicago to retrieve her son, so long as she doesn't mind riding in a truck with him and his polka band.
However, "Home Alone" director Chris Columbus told Insider that the actor was displeased with his paycheck from the cameo, which was mostly improvised. Candy was paid $414 for his role in the movie, according to Netflix's "The Movies That Made Us."
"There was certainly a little resentment on John's part," Columbus said.
John Candy died in March 1994, roughly three years after "Home Alone" was released.
Jennifer Lopez was not paid a dollar for her critically acclaimed role in "Hustlers."
"I didn't get paid a whole bunch of money for 'Hustlers,'" Lopez, who played a stripper called Ramona, told GQ. "I did it for free and produced it. I bank on myself. Like Jenny From the Block; I do what I want, I do what I love."
For her Oscar-winning role in "Boys Don't Cry," actress Hilary Swank was paid just $3,000.
"I made $3,000. In order to have health insurance, you have to make $5,000. So I didn't even know that I didn't have health insurance until I went and tried to get a prescription filled," Swank told People. "They said, 'That's $160.' I went, 'Um, did you try my insurance?' They said, 'Mmm-hmm.' I had an Academy Award, no health insurance."
Her Oscar-nominated role in "A Color Purple" earned Oprah Winfrey $35,000.
Winfrey had been terrified she was going to be fired from the film.
"There was another movie — was it "Mask"? — where somebody had recently been fired, and it had never occurred to me that you could be fired from a movie. But I did know that if there was anybody who could be fired, it would be me, because I didn't know what I was doing. Period," Winfrey told the LA Times.
The movie earned her a Best Supporting Actress nod at the 1986 Academy Awards.
Today, that money would be a drop in a bucket to Winfrey's $3 billion net worth.
Jonah Hill accepted $60,000 to work with Martin Scorsese in "The Wolf of Wall Street."
In an interview with Howard Stern, Hill said he'd make the same deal again if he had the chance.
"That was their offer and I said, 'I will sign the paper tonight,'" Hill said. "Fax them the papers tonight. I want to sign them tonight before they change their mind. I want to sign them before I go to sleep tonight so they legally can't change their mind."
Hill was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2014 Academy Awards for his work in the film.
To write, direct, and star in "Good Night, and Good Luck," George Clooney received an upfront salary of $3.
A passion project of Clooney's, "Good Night, and Good Luck" was nominated for six Academy Awards in 2006.
Jennifer Lawrence earned $3,000 a week for her Oscar-nominated role in "Winter's Bone."
She also earned $500,000 for her breakout role as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games."
But it was the film "American Hustle" that made Lawrence speak out about the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than their male co-stars.
"I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early," Lawrence said. "I didn't want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don't need."
Matthew McConaughey received $200,000 to star in "Dallas Buyers Club," according to The Hollywood Reporter. He won the Oscar for Best Actor for the role.
In 2010, McConaughey made the move to revitalize his career, which up to that point had consisted mainly of romantic comedies.
"Taking a year and a half off and saying no to things in some form or fashion made me a new good idea," McConaughey told The Hollywood Reporter.
He took home the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of AIDS patient Ron Woodruff in 2014.
For his first Oscar-nominated role in "Half Nelson," Ryan Gosling earned only $1,000 a week, according to the Telegraph.
Gosling, who was nominated for Best Actor for the movie, worked on the 2006 low-budget indie film after his success in "The Notebook."
For her role in "Halloween," Jamie Lee Curtis made $8,000.
"I made $8,000," Curtis told People. "I made $2,000 a week, which at the time was a fortune."
She also bought her costume for the movie at JCPenney.
For "All the Money in the World," Michelle Williams was paid much less than her co-star Mark Wahlberg, making $625,000 to his $5 million.
"No one cared," Williams said at a 2019 Equal Pay Day celebration. "This came as no surprise to me, it simply reinforced my life-learned belief that equality is not an inalienable right and that women would always be working just as hard for less money while shouldering more responsibility in their homes. … I've been accredited by my industry at the highest levels and that still didn't translate to equal and fair compensation."
For her solo "Wonder Woman" film, actress Gal Gadot reportedly earned $300,000. The movie made $821 million worldwide.
For his initial appearance in "Captain America: The First Avenger," Chris Evans reportedly earned $300,000.
But don't feel too bad for Evans, who earned a head-turning $43.5 million between June 2018 and June 2019 in large part due to his continued role as Captain America.
Bill Murray earned just $9,000 for his work on "Rushmore."
For what it's worth, Murray and director Wes Anderson have collaborated on every movie Anderson has made since then.
"I've liked most of the characters I've played, but writing-wise they weren't all finished. I think 'Rushmore' is the first movie I've done in a while that's completely whole," Murray said.
For "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," then-newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega earned between $100,000 and $300,000.
Their co-star Harrison Ford was paid between $10 million to $20 million to return as the galaxy's favorite smuggler Han Solo, Variety reported.
For "Thelma and Louise," a young Brad Pitt was paid $6,000.
Pitt's net worth is now $300 million with a usual pay of $20 million per movie.
Patricia Arquette said her babysitter was paid more than she was for working on the film "Boyhood."
"It's important to me as an actor to be able to make a living, but I'm going to tell you something — I paid more money to my babysitter and my dog walker than I made on 'Boyhood,' and to be in 'Boyhood!'" Arquette said.
She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the role.
Dustin Hoffman reportedly made $17,000 for his breakout role in "The Graduate."
He was nominated for Best Actor at the 1968 Academy Awards for his role in the movie.
Now in his 80s, Hoffman has an estimated net worth of around $50 million.
Julia Roberts made $50,000 to star in "Mystic Pizza" and only $300,000 for her iconic role in "Pretty Woman," according to the Los Angeles Times.
To star in "Magnolia," Tom Cruise took a massive pay cut and made only $100,000.
Cruise met director Paul Thomas Anderson while filming "Eyes Wide Shut," and the two bonded over the loss of their fathers. "Magnolia" was born from this shared grief, and Cruise loved the script and agreed to star.
For his iconic role in "Pulp Fiction," John Travolta was paid $150,000.
Travolta's career has been one of lows and highs, but "Pulp Fiction" remains one of his most popular works.
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