Jon Voight said he was paid the minimum for his iconic role in the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy.
The 74-year-old veteran actor said he wanted the role so badly that he told his agent, “Tell them I’ll do this part for nothing,” according to the Washington Post.
Voight said, “They took me at my word, and they gave me minimum for Midnight Cowboy,” much to his surprise. United Artists “even sent me a $14.73 coffee shop charge” for his meals on the last day of shooting in Texas, he said.
Voight also said he persuaded co-star Dustin Hoffman to try out for the role of Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo. The two became friends while they were performing in an off-Broadway show and auditioned for Midnight Cowboy together.
Voight said he didn’t have any regrets about the experience, even though it wasn’t a particularly good one.
“It was the worst,” he said. “[But] I knew what it meant. It was going to give me a career and I was right.”
After Midnight Cowboy, Jon Voight went on to star in Deliverance, Coming Home— for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor — and a remake of the 1931 film The Champ. He also starred in Runaway Train, for which he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor, Heat, and Rosewood.
Voight recently starred in Getaway with Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez.
Jon Voight also recently said that his daughter, Angelina Jolie, was “doing good” after undergoing a double mastectomy in February. He said she is getting ready direct to Unbroken, which is based on the true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, who was captured during World War II and forced to live in Japanese POW camps.
The film, which is written by Ethan and Joel Coen, starts filming in October.
In May, Voight, who was estranged from Jolie for years, said he learned of his daughter’s surgery online, but that he understood why she didn’t tell him. He said he understood and wanted the “focus to be on the inspiration.”
Jon Voight is currently starring on the Showtime series Ray Donovan opposite Liev Schrieber.