I’ll Take a 99% Pay Cut

Most of us know Jonah Hill as the funny guy from movies like “SuperBad” and the more recent “This is the End”.






Behind the Jonah Hill we all know, as the funny guy in often raunchy comedy flicks, is a guy who is incredibly hard working.

No Sweat, No Glory

Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street


Jonah Hill wanted to work with Martin Scorsese so badly that he took the least amount of money the actor’s union allows an actor to take for a main roll. He agreed to 60k, before commission and before taxes, for seven months of filming.

Jonah Hill Was Paid $60,000 for ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

Why take $60,000 for seven-months of filming when the co-star, Leonardo Dicaprio, made about $10 million? And when he himself makes millions on every other movies he stars in? He wanted to be in a Martin Scorsese movie.

Nothing Without Character

To be a world famous movie star millionaire and still have role models makes me think he’s humble and still somewhat grounded.

He truly seems incredibly passionate. And when you read about him, it seems that he is pretty down to earth:

Professionally, I feel like I won the lottery and I am the luckiest person in the entire world.

When asked how he stays out of the trouble other young, suddenly wealthy and famous stars get in, he explains that he hasn’t had time. He truly hasn’t taken a break since the movie “SuperBad” came out as his first big hit.

Obviously taking big roles for low pay can pay off in other ways, such as increased fame and reputation. Still, I think Hill may genuinely be a hard working guy. I got a kick out of his late night appearance where he explained how after getting veneers on his teeth for Wolf of Wall Street he had to practice speaking for hours everyday. He called up Best Buys around the country and would ask them questions about products. He even publicly thanked the Honolulu Best Buy which he said was especially helpful and patient in his continual questions.

Best Buy thanked him for the shout out.

Despite his many movie roles climbing the ladder, and his more recent roles also writing and producing, Variety’s article on Hill revealed a comment from Director Judd Apatow:

Judd Apatow (Director of “This is 40”, “Knocked Up”, the list goes on) describes Hill as a hilarious, thoughtful, complicated person who also manages to be humble about his accomplishments. “He has worked so hard, but he is also the first person to call and say, ‘Can you believe this is happening? It’s crazy.’ ”

At Least Some Stars Sweat for It

Everything I’ve read indicates that hill is one of those hard working, focused, admirable guys that I never imagine any actor to be.

And the research also shows that Hill isn’t the only one who is hungry for making good movies. Some articles list guy’s like Brad Pitt and John Voight as getting paid a few thousand dollars for their first lead roles, when they were willing to do anything for a good role in a big film. What’s more impressive is reading about already incredibly famous stars taking huge pay cuts to be in movies they are passion about.

Guys like:

  • Hill taking $60,000 for “Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Leonardio LeCraprio taking a big pay cut to be in Christopher Nolan’s Inception
  • George Clooney taking $120,000 for “Good Night, and Good Luck”
  • Ryan Gosling taking $1000/wk for “Half Nelson”

It hardly makes them charity workers but I like knowing that not every big ticket movie is filled with big ticket actors commanding enormous salaries. Some great movies are so great that before they are even made, actors read the script, hear who’s making it, and say “I’ll do anything to be in that.” They are willing to go back to that place that they were in, long before they had success, where they show humility and take a low paycheck to get experience and do what they love to do.


One response to “I’ll Take a 99% Pay Cut

  1. Pingback: For the Discouraged | Pause for Clarity·

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