Djimon Hounsou Says 'I Feel Tremendously Cheated' by Hollywood – PEOPLE

Editorial Intern, PEOPLE
Djimon Hounsou is speaking about his treatment in Hollywood.
In an interview with The Guardian published Thursday, the two-time Oscar nominee opened up about how he feels “seriously cheated” by the film industry.
"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," he shared. "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, received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor for his roles in In America (2003) and Blood Diamond (2006).
"I'm still struggling to try to make a dollar!" he revealed. "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."
"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,' " Hounsou said of his breakthrough role in Steven Spielberg's 1997 film Amistad.
"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," he continued.
"I still have to prove why I need to get paid," he told The Guardian. "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.' "
Viola Davis said it beautifully: she’s won an Oscar, she’s won an Emmy, she’s won a Tony and she still can’t get paid,” Hounsou said, comparing his experience to the now EGOT-winning actress. “Film after film, it’s a struggle. I have yet to meet the film that paid me fairly.”
However, Hounsou has felt respect from starring in Shazam! Fury of the Gods as the wizard who grants Billy Batson his superhero powers.
"Out of them all, the DC universe has a level of respect," Hounsou noted. "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."
"From time to time, [Hollywood] themselves make the point of saying, 'We should give him more, he's a little under-appreciated.' I think they recognize that themselves," Hounsou continued. "Hey, it's the struggle I have to overcome!"
Shazam! Fury of the Gods serves as the sequel to Shazam! released in 2019. The film continues the story of Billy Batson who — upon reciting the magic word “SHAZAM!” — is struck by the Living Lightning of the gods and transformed into his adult superhero alter ego.
Zachary Levi makes his return as the titular superhero character opposite Asher Angel, who is reprising his role as Shazam’s teenage alter ego, Billy Batson.
In the sequel, Billy “and his family are thrust into a battle for their superpowers, their lives, and the fate of their world,” according to an official synopsis for the movie from DC’s website.
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Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now in theaters.


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