ACTORS

TOP 10 HIGHEST-PAID ACTORS OF 2020

Using data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo, and IMDB, Forbes has put together a list of the highest-paid actors of 2020. They didn’t stop with raw data, of course, but also interviewed sources inside the movie industry.

10. JACKIE CHAN - $40 MILLION

Jackie-Chan

Jackie Chan, originally Chan Kong-sang, (born April 7, 1954, Hong Kong), Hong Kong-born Chinese stuntman, actor, and director whose perilous acrobatic stunts and engaging physical humor7 made him an action-film star in Asia and helped to bring kung fu movies into the mainstream of American cinema.

Chan retained complete creative control for Shi di chu ma (1980; The Young Master), his debut with the production company Golden Harvest, which he subsequently helped transform into Hong Kong’s largest movie conglomerate. In the early 1980s, at the time when he was making an unsuccessful foray into English-language cinema, he moved beyond traditional martial arts period movies to modern action-adventure films, such as ‘A’ jihua (1983; Project A) and Jing cha gu shi (1985: Police Story), along with their sequels. The films showcased his directorial talent for a fight and stunt choreography. His own stunts were often extraordinarily dangerous; he nearly perished from a fall in Lung hing foo dai (1986; Armour of God) that fractured his skull and impaired his hearing.

09. ADAM SANDLER - $41 MILLION

ADAM SANDLER

Sandler was raised in ManchesterNew Hampshire, the youngest of four children. Academically disinclined, he was frequently disciplined for his comedic antics in school. He first performed at a stand-up comedy club in Boston at age 17 at the urging of his brother. Following high school, Sandler took classes at the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in New York City and attended the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, graduating in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in acting.

Sandler broke into film with small parts in such comedies as Shakes the Clown (1991); Coneheads (1993), which was based on an SNL sketch; and Mixed Nuts (1994). He established himself as a star with Billy Madison (1995), the first of a number of movies he cowrote; in it he played the oafish scion of a wealthy businessman who must prove his worthiness to succeed his father by repeating his schooling. Sandler’s humour, while derided by some critics as puerile, proved popular with moviegoers. A succession of films in which he played similarly inept and foulmouthed characters solidified his reputation as a reliable box-office draw.

08. WILL SMITH - $44.5 MILLION

WILL SMITH

Will Smith, byname of Willard Carroll Smith, Jr., (born September 25, 1968, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.), American actor and musician whose charisma, clean-cut good looks, and quick wit helped him transition from rap music to a successful career in acting.

Smith’s act, notable for its wide crossover appeal, was sometimes characterized as “light rap” because of the lack of hard-core lyrics and themes in his compositions. Platinum-certified recordings and accompanying videos subsequently brought him to the attention of television producers. The television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which began in 1990 and was loosely based on Smith’s real-life persona, ran on NBC for six successful seasons, ending at the star’s request. During the series’ run, Smith garnered two Golden Globe Award nominations and served as an executive producer for the final season.

07. LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA - $45.5 MILLION

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA

Lin-Manuel Miranda, (born January 16, 1980, in New York, New York, U.S.), American actor, composer, lyricist, and writer who created and starred in stage productions that blended modern musical forms with classic musical theatre. Perhaps his best-known work was Hamilton, a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton.

Miranda graduated (2002) from Wesleyan and embarked on an acting career, appearing in films and on television. He also performed with a hip-hop improv group, Freestyle Love Supreme, around New York City and at festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. With fellow Wesleyan alumnus Thomas Kail, he continued to develop In the Heights. The musical blended hip-hop and salsa (with music and lyrics by Miranda) with a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. It opened Off-Broadway in February 2007 and ran until July, with Miranda in the lead role; it won two Drama Desk Awards. In the Heights had its Broadway debut in March 2008 and won four Tony Awards, including those for best musical and best original score. The show was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and its original-cast recording won the 2008 Grammy Award for best musical show album.

06. AKSHAY KUMAR - $48.5 MILLION

AKSHAY KUMAR

Akshay Kumar, original name Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, (born September 9, 1967, Amritsar, Punjab, India), Indian actor who became one of Bollywood’s leading performers, known for his versatility.

Kumar acted in a steady stream of thrillers and fast-paced dramas, including Khiladi (1992; “Player”), which brought him considerable attention. His athleticism and daredevil nature were well displayed in action films such as Main khiladi tu anari (1994; I’m the Expert, You’re the Novice), in which Kumar played a police inspector protecting a star witness. He again portrayed a conflicted policeman in Mohra (“Pawn”), one of the most popular Indian films of 1994. Despite his success in those high-intensity roles, Kumar’s good looks also led him to star in romantic comedies such as Yeh dillagi (1994; The Game of Love), a loose adaptation of the American film Sabrina, and Dhadkan (2000; “Heartbeat”), a story of arranged marriage in which Kumar’s character must win over his reluctant bride. Ajnabee (2001; “Stranger”) was a change of pace for the usually charming actor, and his turn as a philandering husband and murderer won him his first Filmfare Award, for best villain.

05. VIN DIESEL - $54 MILLION

Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel, original name Mark Sinclair, (born July 18, 1967, Alameda county, California, U.S.), American actor and producer who was best known for his action films, most notably The Fast and Furious series.

After finding little success in Hollywood—his only notable work was an uncredited role in Awakenings (1990)—Diesel returned to New York in 1995. His mother gave him a copy of Rick Schmidt’s book Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices (1988), which inspired him to make a semiautobiographical short, Multi-Facial (1995), about a biracial actor struggling to get roles. He worked as a telemarketer to raise the money for his first feature film, Strays (1997). Diesel got his big break when director Steven Spielberg, who had seen Multi-Facial, cast him in the award-winning Saving Private Ryan (1998). With his appealing screen presence—shaved head, muscular physique, raspy voice, and rough-hewn charm—Diesel was soon working regularly. He played escaped criminal Richard Riddick in the science-fiction film Pitch Black (2000) and reprised the character in two more films, The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Riddick (2013).

04. BEN AFFLECK - $55 MILLION

BEN AFFLECK

Ben Affleck, in full Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt, (born August 15, 1972, Berkeley, California, U.S.), American actor and filmmaker who played leading roles in action, drama, and comedy films but who was perhaps more renowned for his work as a screenwriter, director, and producer.

 

03. MARK WAHLBERG - $58 MILLION

MARK WAHLBERG

Mark Wahlberg, in full Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg, (born June 5, 1971, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.), American singer and actor who gained fame as a member of the rap group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and then as a Calvin Klein model before launching a successful film career.

After his release, his older brother Donnie, then a member of the successful band New Kids on the Block, helped him begin a music career. In 1990 Mark styled himself as Marky Mark and formed Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. The band’s debut album, Music for the People (1991), which featured cowriting and arrangements by brother Donnie, was a modest success and produced two hit singles, “Good Vibrations” and “Wildside.” In performances and supporting videos, Marky Mark was prone to disrobe, and his physique gained him more admirers than did his rapping. He was hired by the fashion design company Calvin Klein as an underwear model, and the billboard, TV, and print photo campaign brought him fame that eclipsed his music career. Nonetheless, his “bad boy” image proved to be a mixed blessing, and Wahlberg decided to abandon his Marky Mark persona and pursue a career in acting.

02. RYAN REYNOLDS - $71.5 MILLION

RYAN REYNOLDS

Ryan Reynolds, (born October 23, 1976, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), Canadian actor known for being charismatic, quirky, and a quick-witted smart aleck.

Reynolds subsequently started his own improv group, Yellow Snow. He also appeared in TV series such as Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years (1995), The Outer Limits (1995), and The X-Files (1996) while working nights as a grocery store clerk to make ends meet. In hopes of finding more reliable and steady work, he dropped out of Kwantlen Polytechnic University after only a few months and moved with a friend to Los Angeles when he was 19.

01. THE ROCK - $87.5 MILLION

Dwayne Johnson, byname the Rock, (born May 2, 1972, Hayward, California, U.S.), American professional wrestler and actor whose charisma and athleticism made him a success in both fields.

Johnson was born into a wrestling family. His maternal grandfather, “High Chief” Peter Maivia, emerged on the professional scene in the 1960s and ’70s. Johnson’s father, “Soulman” Rocky Johnson, worked the American regional wrestling circuit and boxed; in 1974 he was a sparring partner for George Foreman, then preparing for “the Rumble in the Jungle” with Muhammad Ali. However, the younger Johnson initially preferred the gridiron to the mat. He was a standout high-school athlete, and he played on the 1991 NCAA Championship football team at the University of Miami (Bachelor of General Studies, 1995). After injuries cut short his career in the Canadian Football League, he turned to wrestling.


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