Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Parks and Recreation’s Rob Lowe had some choice words for Hollywood at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Emmy Comedy Actor Roundtable. The duo sounded off on low-paying acting jobs, with O’Neill specifically targeting HBO for offering him a key role in its planned David Mamet film about music producer Phil Spector but low-balling him on his fee. Lowe soon chimed in, claiming that studios exploit actors’ willingness to take good material for less money, a practice he called “bullshit.” Here’s the exchange:
Ed 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.
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 — bullshit.
Neil Patrick Harris: Wow, it’s getting real!