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From Angsty Teen to DC Supervillain: Paul Dano's Diverse Journey and Net Worth

Paul Dano’s other film credits include “Prisoners” " and the Oscar-winning film, “12 Years a Slave.”
UPDATED FEB 22, 2024
Paul Dano arrives at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party | Getty Images | Photo by John Shearer
Paul Dano arrives at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party | Getty Images | Photo by John Shearer
Name Paul Dano
Net worth $14 million
Sources of income Acting, direction, production
DOB 19 June 1984
Age 39 years
Gender Male
Nationality American
Profession Actor, director, producer

Actor, writer, director, and producer, known for his versatile acting, Paul Dano has earned an estimated net worth of $14 million as of 2024, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Paul Dano has an elaborate entertainment career featuring in several films like “Little Miss Sunshine”, “There Will Be Blood”, the Oscar-winning title, “12 Years A Slave” and most recently “The Batman” as well as "The Fabelmans." He has also appeared in critically acclaimed television shows like “The Sopranos”, “War & Peace”, and “Escape.” Other than that, Dano is known for his Broadway performances in productions such as “Inherit the Wind”, “A Thousand Clowns”, and “A Free Man of Color.”

Paul Dano at the
Paul Dano at the "Okja" New York Premiere | Getty Images | Photo by Jason Kempin

Recently, Paul Dano starred as “Keith Gill”, in the satirical drama “Dumb Money,” which is based on the true story of Redditors who took Wall Street by storm in 2021. The movie tells the story of a group of rebel investors who banded together in 2021 to short-squeeze the stock price of the electronics chain GameStop. Their scheme sent the value of the moribund brick-and-mortar franchise through the roof, punishing major hedge funds who bet on its failure to get richer.


Directed by Craig Gillespie, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where it garnered great reviews, and added to Dano's stellar filmography along with Steven Spielberg's "The Fabelmans."

Paul Dano's acting career 

Paul Dano was born o in New York City to financial adviser Paul Sr. and homemaker Gladys. He first went to the Browning School in New York and then to  Wilton High School after moving with his family to Wilton, Connecticut. He moved back to New York after graduation in 2002, to attend Eugene Lang College.

Before this, Dano's acting career had already begun on Broadway at the age of 12. He appeared in a revival of the play "Inherit the Wind," which also starred George C. Scott and Charles Durning.

Dano's breakthrough on the big screen came with the  2001 drama "L.I.E." in which he played Howie Blitzer, an adolescent boy who begins a troubling relationship with a middle-aged man. After this, Dano appeared in "The Emperor's Club," followed by the psychological thriller "Taking Lives". His subsequent film credits included, "The Girl Next Door"," "The Ballad of Jack and Rose," and "The King."

In 2006, Dano's career took a pivotal turn as he gained critical acclaim for his performance as the sulky, voluntarily mute teenager "Dwayne" in the tragicomedy road film "Little Miss Sunshine."  For his role, he shared the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

The very next year, Dano gave another acclaimed performance in the period drama "There Will Be Blood". He played a dual role in the film and went on to win a  BAFTA Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Dano's other credits in the late 00s include "Weapons," "Explicit Ills," "Light and the Sufferer," "Gigantic," "Taking Woodstock," and "The Good Heart."

In 2012, Dano appeared in four major films. He bagged  leading roles in "Being Flynn," "Ruby Sparks," and "For Ellen," and had a supporting role in "Looper." The next year, he bagged roles in critically acclaimed films "Prisoners" and "12 Years a Slave."


Dano bagged one of his most memorable roles in the 2016 black comedy "Swiss Army Man". He played the role of a suicidal man who befriends a farting corpse on a deserted island.

Dano then debuted as a director with the 2018 film "Wildlife" and his most recent, appearance was in "The Batman," as the film's antagonist, "The Riddler". Dano gained rave reviews for his performance and global fame.  


Dano’s acting has been his main source of income ever since his break-out performance in “Little Miss Sunshine,” where he played the role of a tortured teen “Dwayne Hoover”, who had taken a vow of silence. A year later, he won critical acclaim for his depiction of twins Eli and Paul Sunday in the film “There Will Be Blood.”


Paul Dano’s salary

After delivering diverse performances, Dano reportedly bagged a $350,000 paycheck for his latest hit, “The Batman”, as per Showbiz Galore.

Dano has reportedly been in a romantic relationship with actress and screenwriter Zoe Kazan since the year 2007. The two have worked on quite a few projects together, and starred opposite each other in the romantic dramedy film "Ruby Sparks." She also co-wrote Dano's directorial debut "Wildlife," and the couple has a daughter together.

 Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano at the red carpet event for
Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano at the red carpet event for "She Said" | Getty Images | Photo by Dia Dipasupil

2023 Chairman's Vanguard Award For “The Fabelmans”

2007 Critics Choice Award: Best Young Actor For “Little Miss Sunshine”

2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture For “Little Miss Sunshine”

How old was Paul Dano during Little Miss Sunshine?

Paul Dano was reportedly 21 years old during the filming of Little Miss Sunshine.

Is Paul Dano Married?

Yes,  Paul Dano is married to fellow actress and screenwriter, Zoe Kazan. 

Does Paul Dano Have Any Children?

Yes, Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan have a daughter, born in August 2018, and a son, born in October 2022. 

What Philanthropic Causes Does Paul Dano Support?

Paul Dano actively supports charities working with causes related to education, environmental conservation, and social upliftment.

Has Paul Dano written any books?

Yes, Paul Dano wrote the book "The Riddler: Year One" which was based on his character in The Batman. 

Has Paul Dano Received Any Awards For His Work?

Yes, Paul Dano has won several awards and nominations including a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture For the film “Little Miss Sunshine”

What Other Projects Has Paul Dano Worked On Besides Acting?

Paul Dano has ventured into directing, screenwriting, and writing. He made his directorial debut with the film "Wildfire".