Every awards season, The Hollywood Reporter gathers nominees to talk about their craft. And during the Emmy roundtable of comedy actors, Ed O’Neill spoke out against HBO low-balling him with an offer for a role in HBO’s planned movie about Phil Spector helmed by David Mamet.
O’Neill: I just had a thing last week where I thought for sure I was going to do a thing for HBO with Al Pacino and Bette Midler. Mamet directing. And I get the offer, six weeks work, I’m playing Bruce Cutler, [Spector’s] lawyer, and they said “$40,000.”
Rob Lowe: “Ex-squeeze me?” (Laughs)
O’Neill: So I said, “I thought you said $40,000 for six weeks’ work.” “Yeah.” Scale. “Yeah.” Is Al working for scale?” “No.” “Is Bette working for scale?” “No.” I said, “Well, good luck.” Now, I’m not doing it. [Jeffrey Tambor took the role. –Ed.]
Lowe: You can’t.
O’Neill: Of course I can’t do it. But then you say “Wait a minute, what the f—? You know. That lasts about three or four days. Then you say, “Well, I’m going to Hawaii.” That happens all the time.
Lowe: You know why it happens? It’s because they know that at the end of the day we love good material. And they will use that to exploit us. And that’s — excuse me — bullsh*t.
Listen, I know $40,000 for six weeks of work isn’t a lot to someone who’s starring in a hit network sitcom, but you’d think that the star of Dutch would remember what it’s like to not get work after your hit sitcom goes off the air. But no, la dee dah, Ed’s going off to Hawaii to relax after that grievous insult. Some wounds can only be healed by tropical beaches and umbrella drinks.
Watch the entire video series here.