For a long time, Dan Levy was uncomfortable in his own skin. First, his sexuality led to him being bullied. Secondly, he took a job that did not spark any joy, and finally, he always feared nepotism would come between him and his career. It was not until Levy left his MTV job that the vision of being a successful writer was fulfilled.
Today, he is primarily known for being cast on “Schitt’s Creek,” although his start in the entertainment industry was by chance. He has recently landed a multi-year deal with Netflix that has increased Dan Levy’s net worth to $14 million. Here is how he achieved it.
Getting Out of His Comfort Zone
Levy was born to Deborah Divine, a screenwriter, and Eugene Levy, a successful actor. When the couple decided to settle down and raise a family, they thought Los Angeles was too hectic. Since they did not want to expose their children to the fast pace of Hollywood, the lovebirds moved to Toronto.
However, you cannot distance people from their destinies, as Eugene later discovered. As the older Levy told Out that he would not have encouraged any of his children to follow in his footsteps. Therefore, even if Levy and his sister Sarah put up shows as little kids, it never occurred to Eugene that they would become actors.
Besides, Levy avoided the limelight and did not want to be seen with his father; thus whenever they were out, Levy would walk a few steps ahead of everyone. Although he still ended up in the theater, it was only to seek refuge from the constant bullying by his peers. Being on the stage was the ideal way to put on a show and forget that someone had insulted him because of his sexual orientation.
All the same, as the son of a prominent actor, Levy never did once mention that Eugene was his father. He wanted people to appreciate him for his talents without comparing him to his father. Eugene was in denial that his children were interested in acting despite trying to help them with their lines.
Therefore, he had his kids working regular jobs, which Levy said helped get him out of his comfort zone. At 15, Levy preferred working at Gap Kids to avoid running into anyone his own age. According to GQ, the actor worked so hard that he was named the top sales associate that summer.
Levy then got a job at a video store and bakery; experience at the video store came in handy when he began writing storylines. Heartbreak led to him getting an internship in London at a talent agency. He had become so accustomed to being in his shell that even speaking to people was difficult. Therefore, he recalls answering telephones being hell for him. Although it was a bad experience, he eventually got used to it.
Levy knew he wanted to become an actor when he graduated from high school but was too scared to audition for theater school. For this reason, he went against his instincts to pursue a degree in film production at York and Ryan University. Three months to his graduation, MTV approached him for a new show, “MTV Live.”
He was only 20, and of the many applicants, he was the first to be hired. Levy dropped out of school to become a host. It was a challenge because he felt people would think he got the job based on his family background. So four years, the actor never mentioned his father or even invited Eugene to his shows. Once Levy was confident enough of his own skills, he invited his father.
Still, it was not the dream job that Levy wanted. He admitted to Interview that he hated interviewing and working red carpets; he would have preferred being the interviewee because he wanted to contribute. Considering Sterling Brim earns $140,000 per episode hosting “Ridiculousness,” it is safe to assume that Levy was banking a lucrative salary.
The lack of motivation resulted in him quitting after eight years. He began writing for television and got involved in improv classes and auditioning. However, none of his attempts yielded fruits. Levy was too nervous during the acting auditions that he failed to bag any roles.
Furthermore, his MTV background resulted in every agency rejecting him as a writer. Ironically, his mother had had her cards read thrice as Levy was young, and every time, they showed that the actor would find success in writing.
“Schitt’s Creek” Opens Doors
Six months after downloading Final Draft, screenwriting software, Levy had an idea for a show after researching people who bought towns that bankrupted them. He sought his father’s help to execute the concept, and Eugene came up with the show’s title “Schitt’s Creek.”
The series ran for six seasons and accumulated multiple awards, making it worth the while for the actors. Annie Murphy said that when the show was in its pilot season, she only had $160 in the bank. However, when it wrapped up, her net worth had gone up to $3 million.
That paints a picture of how well-paying the series was, especially for Levy, who created it and acted in it. After showing his creativity through “Schitt’s Creek,” it was only a matter of time before Levy began landing deals. In 2019, ABC Studios came knocking. According to Hollywood Reporter, he signed a three-year deal to develop and produce scripted projects.
The deal was reportedly worth $2 million a year. He tried renegotiating the contract after “Schitt’s Creek’ won multiple awards, but ABC Studios was unwilling. Netflix seized the opportunity and offered Levy a multi-year film and TV deal reportedly worth $10 million. He will begin creating content for films immediately, but the TV component of the agreement will be from July 2022.
You can also read:
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee