To determine the actors getting paid the most per word, 24/7 Tempo reviewed salary data and word counts for approximately 2,000 movies. Actors were ranked by the ratio of their total earnings to the number of words of dialogue written for their character or characters in a given screenplay. Salary figures came from “George Lucas’s Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success” by Alex Ben Block and Lucy Autrey Wilson as well as a number of additional sources, and were adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Data on word count came from “The Largest Ever Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender,” a project by Hannah Anderson and Matt Daniels hosted on the website The Pudding, as well as analysis by 24/7 Tempo.
Word counts reflect dialogue in a film’s screenplay and may not be representative of the actual word count in a film’s theatrical version. Only roles in which actors speak fewer than 2,000 words were considered.
Actors for whom reliable salary and word count data could not be located were not considered. As a result, actors who would have likely made the list — Matt Damon for the role of Jason Bourne in 2016’s “Jason Bourne,” Henry Cavill for the role of Superman in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and Scarlett Johansson for the role of the Female in 2013’s “Under the Skin” — were excluded.
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