• Wed, May 30 2012

Matthew Lillard Candidly Talks About How Actors Don’t Make Near As Much Money As We Think They Do

Matthew Lillard Reddit AMA Ask Me Anything money The Descendants Hollywood George ClooneyThis has been such a good year for celebrity Ask Me Anything threads on Reddit! I signed on to r/iama today because Matthew Lillard was scheduled; honestly, I didn’t expect too interesting of a Q&A from the guy who played Shaggy in the live-action Scooby Doo! movie. But let me say that I was wrong, because Matthew comes off as incredibly humble, down-to-earth, and eager to have an actual conversation with commenters and fans. Consider his first salutation to the Reddit community:

I’m here. bring the noise. i can’t spell. sometimes I cuss. I’m naked as i type this.

Matthew was incredibly candid about his roles over the years, as he went from the goofy jerk in stuff like She’s All That to his surprisingly dramatic role in the Oscar-nominated The Descendants. But he acknowledged his career missteps as well, like when one Redditor asked how he handles good films that don’t get a lot of reviews, or (trickier) bad films he feels obligated to promote:

Great question. You live with it. You own it best you can. I know that DUNGEON SIEGE sucked but you try and love it for what it is. It’s like your kid… ya know? You really hold on to the positive.

However, the most illuminating part of the AMA was when one person asked (paraphrased), “What is a misconception about wealth in Hollywood? You’re semi-famous, but how do you manage money between movies while also staying out of the public eye?” I admit, I always assume that celebrities can live off a movie they made a decade ago, but that’s clearly not true anymore. Especially if you’re one of those character actors like Matthew who have been in so many films but aren’t A-list. Here’s his response:

Ohhh my GOD… being an actor is terrible for money. Yes I’ve made a lot at time in my past, but the truth is that version of Hollywood is LONG gone. Hollywood use to be run by artist and people who loved artist… people who wanted to make movies for all the right reasons. For the love. the Art. To tell stories. YEs to make money as well, but it was about both. NOW i feel, it’s mostly about bottom line and making money. Supply and demand dictates you pay what the market dictates… how much do you have to pay someone to be in a George Clooney/Alexander Payne film? NOTHING!! Because everyone in the world wants to be a part of it. Therefore you pay nothing. And that continues until you become something they need… I’m not that kind of actor. I’m blue collar and very replaceable.

tirade. sorry. hot button topic. I need a job because I need to make money to feed my family. Just like everyone else. Yes I can hit a home run at some point… but that’s yet to happen for me.

When a commenter linked to a site that’s calculated Matthew’s net worth at $2 million, he wrote back,

hahahahahahahahahahahahahhhhhaaaaaaaa. THAT’S HILARIOUS. I swear on my daughters eyeballs… that’s not even close. How much do you think I made on DESCENDANTS?

However, he was able to sum up his level of fame in a way that highlights the greatest perk:

I very rarely wait for a table. I have a perfect amount of fame… Not hassled, rarely wait.

And that’s not a bad place to be.

Photo: Glamour

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  • Nancy

    You didn’t mention his best movie ever!! SCREAM!

    • Kate

      YES!! And I loved him in Without A Paddle!

  • Meghan

    Aw, he seems like such a sweetheart! I was completely surprised when I saw him in the Descendants!