Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe salary: Are Outlander actors paid the same?

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Outlander is going into its sixth season after first launching back in 2014. The show is adapted from the works of author Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander book series. Leading the show is Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as star-crossed lovers Jamie and Claire Fraser – however, some are curious to know whether there is pay parity between the two actors.

Are Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe paid the same for Outlander?

Heughan and Balfe were virtual unknowns when they were cast in Outlander but the pair have now become huge stars thanks to their joint portrayal in the series.

According to a report from Variety in 2017, both stars were on an estimated £80,736.50 ($100,000) per episode of Outlander.

As this was now several years ago, their paycheques are likely to have gone up again since this.

However, it seems this wasn’t always the case with Balfe previously discussing how she has now gained the confidence to ask for more money for roles.

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She told Anne-Marie Balfe in a web chat from 2020 via She Knows: “That first year of Outlander, I was paid abysmally, but I was a new actress and I really had to prove myself.”

The Irish actress continued: “And I worked my a** off. I worked insane hours and never complained, and showed up and knew my stuff every single day.”

Despite being a relatively new actress at the time with some roles to her name, Outlander was her biggest part after her career as a model.

Balfe said she had to prove herself during season one of Outlander and when it came to renegotiations for the second series and beyond she felt more comfortable asking for what she wanted.

Balfe explained: “I think by the end of that first year, everyone could see that I was a dedicated hard worker and that I was an asset to the show and to the company.

“And so I think at that point, then you’re in a position when you have proven yourself, to advocate for yourself.”

The actress said in the past she might not have asked about her salary and didn’t feel comfortable asking for equal pay but this had now changed with experience.

She said: “Because I know my value, because I do work hard, and I can see the value in that, I’m quite comfortable with saying what I want, and I think that’s something that all women need to learn.

“As women we have to not be afraid of being difficult, because they’re going to call us difficult anyway.”

Balfe and Heughan are now likely to remain on an equal footing with the pair carrying the show together.

Last year they both earned producer credits on Outlander along with continuing to star in the show, showing their equal status on Outlander.

These figures come as new research show actors can make big bucks based on the amount of lines they have in movies.

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The research looked at the top five highest-grossing films of all time and how much the leads earned based on their amount of lines.

For instance, Robert Downey Jr was paid an estimated £91 million ($125million) for Avengers: End Game.

When this was broken down into how much he earned for each of his 183 lines he said in the superhero blockbuster, it came to an estimated £500,000 ($83,060).

Coming in second place was Beyoncé Knowles, who received an overall paycheque of an estimated £18million ($25million) for her role in The Lion King.

She made an estimated £326,000 ($446,429) for each of the 56 lines she had to deliver for the film.

Interestingly, Downey Jr – who makes three appearances in the top paid actor in the highest grossing movies – made less per line in Avengers: Infinity War than Beyoncé did despite getting paid more.

As a whole he made an estimated £36million ($50million) but received around £283,000 ($387,000) for each of his 129 lines.

Another interesting figure in the study from gambling firm Slotswise revealed Emma Watson made more per line from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 than her co-star Daniel Radcliffe.

Watson took home nearly £11million ($15 million) while Radcliffe bagged £18million ($25million).

She had 86 scripted lines which earned her around £127,000 ($174,000) compared to his 249 lines at £73,000 ($100,000).

From the figures, it’s clear male performers still earn more than their female counterparts generally across Hollywood – something which is likely to take time to change.

Also, it appears on average, male actors have more lines than females and another balance in Tinseltown demanding a redress as the film industry seeks to bring more equality and balance between men and women.

Outlander seasons 1 to 5 are streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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