Most struggling actors would see $60,000 to be in a movie as a great payday. But when you’re playing a major role in a seven-figure production budget motion picture, it may not sound as much.
However, Jonah Hill didn’t even hesitate to take the deal when he was offered the part of Donnie Azoff in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
“They gave me the lowest amount of money possible, that was their offer,” he revealed on The Howard Stern Show. “I said, ‘I will sign the paper tonight. Fax me the papers tonight.’ I want to sign them tonight before they change their mind. I said I want to sign them before I go to sleep tonight so they legally can’t change their mind.”
How much did he get paid to appear in the movie about wealthy stockbrokers? “It was the minimum,” Hill said. “I think SAG minimum is something like $60,000 before commissions and taxes.”
“So you got paid $60,000 for that movie?” Stern clarified.
“Yeah, for an almost seven-month shoot,” the actor, appearing opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, confirmed. “I would sell my house and give him all my money to work for [Scorsese] . . . I would have done anything in the world. I would do it again in a second.”
Obviously, the pay cut paid off as Hill was nominated for an Oscar last week for his part in the film. Not a bad trade-off for taking the lowest pay possible for the Screen Actor’s Guild.
I think there is a great lesson that we can learn from Jonah Hill. While knowing your worth is valuable in becoming successful, sometimes you need to make sacrifices and take gambles in order to see huge long-term gains and to follow your passion.
“It’s not about money for me. None of this S–T is about money,” he said. “I want to make money to pay my rent, and hopefully have a family one day and have kids and stuff.”
It also shows the potential value of having great relationships. You need to ask yourself, does getting a big pay-day in the short-term mean more to you than forming a relationship that could give you success beyond your imagination?
Hill ended his interview by saying, “I got to f**king be in a Martin Scorsese movie and I just got nominated for an Oscar,” he said in regards to not having any career regrets. “I’m tripping out, Howard . . . I’m in shock. I’m totally in shock.”