Leslie Odom Jr. reveals that he almost walked out of the ‘Hamilton’ movie over pay equity

(LOS ANGELES) — Leslie Odom Jr. shocked Hamilton fans last week when he revealed he almost didn’t appear in the filmed adaptation of the musical.

Odom, who originated the role of Aaron Burr that won him a Tony Award, recently told Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert why he nearly bowed out of the opportunity.

The 39-year-old explained when executives approached him about filming, he remained adamant that he would not “sell it away for magic beans” nor “give it away” because “This is my area of expertise. This is all I have. This is my life’s work on the stage.”

Odom understood that he was a major part of the production and wanted to ensure he would be compensated fairly. So, he did his homework and asked around to find out what Aaron Tveit, a white actor, made when performing Grease Live! on TV.

“So when I found out what he made, 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,” Odom recounted.

Apparently, those behind the filmed adaptation didn’t budge, which resulted in the Grammy Award-winner to make one final stand.

“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,” Odom attested. “It was a principle for me.”

While it is unknown what executives paid the Broadway star in the end, Odom did go on to appear in the movie, which was originally slated to hit theaters in October 2021.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was released early on Disney+ last July, much to the delight of fans everywhere.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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