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Djimon Hounsou ‘still struggling to make a dollar’ in Hollywood

Despite a lengthy acting career, the 58-year-old actor reflected on his struggles in the industry.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Djimon Hounsou attending the UK special screening of "Shazam! Fury Of The Gods" at Cineworld Leicester Square on March 07, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Warner Bros.)
Gareth CattermoleGetty

Dijmon Hounsou has been an actor for over 30 years, starring in blockbusters like Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amistad’ as well as having roles in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. Honsou has also received several accolades, securing two Academy Award nominations for his roles in ‘Blood Diamond’ and ‘In America’.

Yet in a recent interview with The Guardian, Hounsou stressed that he feels “tremendously cheated” when it comes to his treatment in Hollywood.

“I’m still struggling to make a dollar!” he said. “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.”

Undermined as an actor

Despite Hounsou’s long list of achievements, many in the industry tend to undermine his abilities.

“I’ve gone to studios for meetings and they’re like: ‘Wow, we felt like you just got off the boat and then went back [after ‘Amistad’]. We didn’t know you were here as a true actor,” he said.

“When you hear things like that, you can see that some people’s vision of you, or what you represent is very limiting. But it is what it is. It’s up to me to redeem that.”

“I still have to prove why I need to get paid,” Hounsou continued. “They always come at me with a complete low ball: ‘We only have this much for the role, but we love you so much and we really think you can bring so much’

“Film after film, it’s a struggle. I have yet to meet the film that paid me fairly.”

Finding roles was especially arduous at the start of Hounsou’s career.

“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.”

Starring in the DC universe

Hounsou’s most recent role is as a wizard in ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’, which is a character he got to explore further than he did in the first ‘Shazam’.

“Out of them all, the DC universe has a level of respect,” Hounsou said. “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.”


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