Aaron Paul is the latest actor to reveal how little Hollywood’s biggest stars are actually making from studios and streaming services. On the picket line with his Breaking Bad co-stars Bryan Cranston and Jesse Plemons, Paul revealed that Netflix doesn’t pay him a share of the revenue the service receives from streams of the hit series.
“I don’t get a piece from Netflix on Breaking Bad to be totally honest and that’s insane to me,” Paul told The Independent. “I think a lot of these streamers know that they have been getting away with not paying people a fair wage and now it’s time to pony up.”
Fair pay is at the heart of the ongoing writers and actors strike. Before streaming services took over from cable, television stars were able to make a living (or millions of dollars) from residuals, or payouts from additional reruns of a show. Netflix et al, however, keep their viewership numbers a secret, and therefore have skirted paying the people behind their content an adequate wage — even if they act on one of the most acclaimed series of the 21st century, as Paul did.
Plemons echoed Paul’s sentiment on the picket line. “The way things were structured 10 years ago made a lot of sense and it made it more possible for journeymen-type actors, actors in the middle that are working just as a hard or harder,” the actor said.
Cranston, meanwhile, encouraged the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to resume negotiations with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. The writers guild is entering its fifth month on strike, while the actors guild is nearing its second, and entertainers have made clear that many are living paycheck-to-paycheck despite their name recognition. It doesn’t look like the industry members will come to a resolution any time soon, however. Some researchers have estimated that the strike will likely extend into next year.