John Leguizamo turned down ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ because of salary

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John Leguizamo recently revealed to Business Insider Some of the roles he most regrets turning down throughout his career. They include Stanley Tucci’s role as Nigel in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, Robin Williams’ voice role in ‘Happy Feet’ and Vince Vaughn’s role in the action film ‘Mrs. and Mrs. Smith.” Vaughn starred in the latter film opposite Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

“I had my reasons. I mean, they’re stupid, but I had my reasons,” Leguizamo said of these decisions, adding that it was a salary issue that led to him becoming “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” The actor said he was offered to work on the film, while Pitt and Jolie got a $20 million payday. Reports have emerged over the years that it was Pitt who got $20 million, while Jolie earned $10 million.

“For ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’, it was because they paid them $20 million and they were going to pay me a scale. “I felt rejected, and they probably weren’t criticizing me, but I felt rejected,” Leguizamo said. “If you’re a person of color, sometimes you’re so used to being laughed at that you think you’re being laughed at, and sometimes you’re not being laughed at. So that’s what happens, and you have to do a lot of therapy to resolve that.

Leguizamo seems aware that Pitt and Jolie were paid millions of dollars more than him to star in ‘Mrs. & Mrs. Smith” because of their A-list careers fronting blockbuster films, but that didn’t stop him from feeling disrespected at the time. As for “Happy Feet,” the animated musical about Penguins in Antarctica, Leguizamo already had a successful animated franchise on his hands with the “Ice Age” films and said, “I don’t want to do all those ice movies. What a stupid reason. But at the time it made sense to me, and then I missed out on millions.”

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Last year, the actor made headlines for telling the story that he “negotiated” to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Vulture in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” While the role was played by Michael Keaton, talks with him apparently went back and forth enough that Marvel wanted another actor lined up to take on the villain role. Leguizamo was reportedly the actor they had lined up.

“I had to be the Vulture,” Leguizamo said at the time. “We were negotiating and I was about to play him, and they said Michael Keaton wanted it back and they asked me if I wanted to give it up. I said, ‘Well, okay, I guess.’ They said, ‘No, we’re going to work with you again, we’re going to…’ That’s what happened there.

According to Leguizamo, the studio offered him “something small” as consolation for giving up the larger role of Vulture. “I said, ‘Nuh uh,’” the actor said.

In his new one Interview with a Business InsiderLeguziamo said he “agreed to terms” with Marvel to play the role of the Vulture and thought “another actor would have filed a lawsuit” if they had fallen the way he was dropped. He added: “I hadn’t signed a contract but we had agreed. I think those are reasonable conditions.”

“The head of the studio called me and said, ‘This is terrible. I feel terrible, and would you give up?’ And I did. I felt like, if you didn’t want me, I don’t want to be there, you know what I mean? Leguizamo added. “My grandma said, ‘If they don’t want you at a party, don’t go.’ So I thought, you don’t want me at the party. I don’t want to be there. I felt rejected and inferior, so I didn’t really want to be a part of it.

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When asked if he would return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or another franchise of that magnitude, Leguizamo replied: “I would if I was offered The Riddler or something like that. I would go back to other franchises. I mean, if you make it up to me. But then they offered me a little scientist in the movie. I was like, ‘No, thank you. Thanks but no.'”

Go to Business Insider’s website to read Leguizamo’s interview in its entirety.

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