Stardom and struggle are the two sides of the same coin that is Hollywood.
While some actors earn their way up the ladder of success in the film industry, others are pushed forward through means of nepotism and sheer wealth. And then there are those belonging to a different race or gender who’re often forced to face more plights than their white, male counterparts; Idris Elba, Viola Davis, Lucy Liu, Ray Fisher, and Ke Huy Quan, the list is endless.
Djimon Hounsou, a Beninese-American actor and model, is yet another Hollywood actor who has fallen prey to racism and inequality in the industry. The two-time Oscar nominee has been acting for more than three decades, appearing in a number of big-studio films like DC’s Shazam!, Steven Spielberg-helmed Amistad, the 2000’s blockbuster film Gladiator, and Keanu Reeves-led movie Constantine, to list a few. But despite having been a part of so many successful projects and winning several accolades, Hounsou feels robbed when it comes to the money that Hollywood is actually paying him.
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Djimon Hounsou Talks About Hollywood’s Unabashed Injustice
In 33 lengthy years of his acting career, Djimon Hounsou has starred in numerous popular films and even received two Oscar nominations for his remarkable performance in In America (2000) and Blood Diamond (2006). But even after playing a leading role in the Edward Zwick-helmed film, Hounsou was left with an Academy Award nomination for the best-supporting actor while his co-star Leonardo DiCaprio got nominated for best actor.
“I felt seriously cheated. 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, 58, remarked how he faces inequality in terms of pay to this very date, making him feel “tremendously cheated” not only with regard to the monetary aspect but also in terms of his “workload.”
“I’m still struggling to try to make a dollar! “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.”
Given how long he has been in this industry, it must naturally be frustrating for the actor to put up with this brutal side of Hollywood after years of enduring it. But the Never Back Down star has indeed not backed down, because even after facing such aggravating circumstances and innumerable other obstacles, he’s still here today with his head held high.
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Djimon Hounsou is Frustrated for Still Needing to Prove Himself
After years of putting in his blood, sweat, and tears, The Island star still struggles with getting his well-deserved share of pay. What’s more, he still needs to “prove” why he needs to get paid. Hounsou also mentioned how filmmakers end up “lowballing” him every time he lands a role in movies.
“I still have to prove why I need to get paid. They always come at me with a complete lowball. ‘We only have this much for the role, but we love you so much and we really think you can bring so much.'”
Related: Shazam! Fury of the Gods Review: Shockingly Decent Sequel
“I have yet to meet the film that paid me fairly,” he admitted. But things have started to look up a little for the Shazam! star with him earning more screen time in the upcoming Zachary Levi-led sequel. “There wasn’t much to the role at first and I did it and it was fun. But the second time around it was a little more respectful,” Hounsou said. Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of a flourishing journey for him, earning him the respect and recognition that he truly deserves.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now out in theatres.
Source: The Guardian