Leslie Odom Jr. made some power moves ahead of filming “Hamilton” for Disney+.
The Broadway actor, who starred as Aaron Burr in the hugely popular musical, chatted with Dax Shepard on his “Armchair Expert” podcast and revealed he almost refused to film the musical due to pay equity.
“They came to me with an offer and you know, ‘Leslie, we’re shooting tomorrow.’ I’m like, ‘here’s the thing: This is it. This is my area of expertise. This is all I have. This is my life’s work on the stage, too. And so I just can’t sell it away for magic beans. I can’t give it away,'” he explained.
“So I can ask CAA (Creative Artists Agency), ‘What does my white counterpart, what does Aaron Tveit make to do ‘Grease Live!’ on TV? What does he make to do ‘Grease’? This is ‘Hamilton’ live, right?” Odom continued. “So when I found out what he made, I didn’t ask for a penny more. I didn’t ask for one penny more, but I said, ‘You must pay me exactly what that white boy got to do ‘Grease Live!’’ That’s the bottom line.”
While Odom didn’t reveal how much he was ultimately paid to do the film, he appeared next to his castmates for the production.
“The day before we shot that movie I called out. I was not kidding,” Odom added “I was not coming to work the next day to do the movie. You know, I was not kidding. It was a principle for me and sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes they look at you and go, ‘We’re just not paying it,’ and you have to go, ‘That’s OK.’”
Odom won the Tony Award in 2016 for Best Actor in a Musical, while the production has won a total of 11 Tonys and a Grammy.
Listen to Odom’s full interview here.