Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr originally refused to do the movie over pay equity

Tasha Hegarty
·2-min read

From Digital Spy

It's difficult to imagine anyone else in the role of Aaron Burr in Hamilton after seeing Leslie Odom Jr's incredible performance in the movie on Disney+, but he very nearly walked away from the project.

The actor has said that he wasn't happy with the salary he was being offered to star in the musical and even on the day before filming, he was ready to move on.

Talking on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast about his experience being offered less than a white actor starring in the same type of lead role in another musical, he insisted that he wasn't going to accept it.

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Related: Hamilton ending explained – Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about Eliza's ambiguous gasp

"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 said.

"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?

"So when I found out what he made, Dax, 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.'"

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

He then said it was "a principle" that he wasn't going to perform for less than he deserved and even though it was a risk, he stood his ground.

"The day before we shot that movie I called out. I was not kidding. I was not coming to work the next day to do the movie," he added.

"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.'"

Luckily, Odom Jr ended up starring in the movie.

Digital Spy has reached out to Disney for comment.

Hamilton is now available to watch on Disney+.

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