Hollywood may have been around for decades, but in the past year or two, there's been a major uprising in people supporting various issues — including the matter of equal pay. Now, most people would agree that actresses and actors both bring a ton of value to whatever project they're working on. After all, though there are a few exceptions, most television shows and movies have both male and female characters, which means producers need both actors and actresses in order to bring the story to life. However, more and more actresses have been finding out that they're being paid far less than their male co-stars, for what is often the same amount of work and screen time — and they're beginning to speak up about it because it's just not okay.
Sure, there may be certain situations where if you're pairing an established A-List actor with a rising star who doesn't have a single credit under his or her belt, the established actor will likely get more. However, often it's actresses of equal talent and background in the industry, getting offered less than what their co-star is offered —and thankfully, many of those ladies are now stepping up and demanding that they be compensated fairly for their work.
Here are 15 amazingly talented actresses who were paid less than their male co-stars.
15 Michelle Williams Got $1,000 For Reshoots on All The Money In The World — Mark Wahlberg Got $1.5 Million
This was one of the more recent scandals, so chances are, you still remember it. Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg worked together on the film All The Money In The World, and after some scandal emerged about one of the film's stars, Kevin Spacey, they needed to reshoot a bunch of scenes with another actor replacing Spacey's character. The director told The Guardian that all of the actors ended up doing the reshoots for free because they were passionate about the project. Then, the truth emerged — as USA Today and the Washington Post revealed, Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million to reshoot his parts, while Michelle Williams was paid $1,000. No, you're not reading that incorrectly. When people began to complain, Wahlberg decided to step up and donate his reshoot fee, but still — who thought it was okay to offer them such different amounts?
14 Natalie Portman Got A Third of What Ashton Kutcher Did In No Strings Attached
Both Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher have been acting since they were much younger, and though Portman has primarily worked in dramas while Kutcher is all about comedy, they came to the rom com No Strings Attached with fairly similar entertainment industry backgrounds. However, Portman spilled the beans in an interview with Marie Claire UK, where she said that "Ashton Kutcher was paid three times as much as me on No Strings Attached. I knew and I went along with it because there's this thing with 'quotes' in Hollywood. His was three times higher than mine, so they said he should get three times more. I wasn't as upset as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it's hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy." We totally agree.
13 Robin Wright Got Significantly Less Than Co-Star Kevin Spacey For House Of Cards
While Netflix is now the king of original programming, back when House of Cards debuted, it was one of the big splash hits for the company. Everyone was obsessed with the Underwoods, and it's no secret that both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright had a huge part in making the show the success it was — it wouldn't have worked without Wright. However, in 2016, according to the New York Times, Wright tried to negotiate for equal pay when she learned she was being paid far less than Spacey — and that her character was just as beloved. So, she stepped up and told the producers that she demanded equal pay or she would go public with the inequality. Bits and pieces have emerged, though, Wright later confessed to Rhapsody that the equal pay never happened.
12 Harrison Ford Received 50 Times More Than Co-Star Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
It's no secret that Harrison Ford is an established actor while Daisy Ridley is a starlet on the rise, but the pay disparity in this situation is absolutely insane. Both the actors worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While Ford received an estimated $20 million or so, according to Variety, Ridley (along with her fellow young co-star John Boyega), received something in the low six-figure range — around $100,000 to $300,000. In this situation, it wasn't a gender issue as much as an experience issue — some insiders spilled to Variety that Disney had decided to have a "legacy" pay scale, where actors who had previously been a part of the film franchise would get more than first time Star Wars stars. Still — a little bonus is fine, millions and millions more is a little crazy.
11 Both Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams Received Less Than Their Male American Hustle Co-Stars
The Sony hacks revealed a lot of things, and the pay disparity amongst the American Hustle cast was one of them. Fans soon found out that the male stars — Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jeremy Renner — were getting a 9% cut of the profits, while the two stunning female stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams, were getting 7%. Lawrence wrote about the experience for Lenny Letter, saying "when the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the [men]....I didn't get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself... I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early." There are a lot of factors that go into pay for actors and actresses, but come on — how hard would it have been to go 9% across the board?
10 Gillian Anderson Was Offered Half What David Duchovny Was To Reboot The X-Files
You would think when two former stars come back for a reboot, they would be getting the same pay — after all, they're basically on equal footing, right? Well, that wasn't the case for the reboot of The X-Files. Apparently, as Gillian Anderson told The Hollywood Reporter, she was offered half of what her male co-star David Duchovny was offered. It upset her, and particularly because of her past experience — she's spoken before of how it took three seasons of negotiating during the run of the original series before she was being paid the same as her co-star, so to have to go through the process all over again for the reboot was maddening. We don't blame her — seriously, you can't have a reboot without both of them, so why not just offer equal pay from the beginning?
9 Amanda Seyfried Was Paid 10% Of Her Co-Star's Salary For A Big Budget Film
Okay, Amanda Seyfried has never revealed the name of the project but based on context, many have speculated that she's talking about Mamma Mia. She was chatting about equal pay with The Sunday Times and said that "a few years ago, on one of my big-budget films, I found out I was being paid 10% of what my male co-star was getting, and we were pretty even in status." Yikes! She went on to comment that "I think people think that just because I'm easy-going and game to do things I'll just take as little as they offer... it's not about how much you get, it's about how fair it is." We couldn't agree more — there are certain films that just don't have a huge budget, but it's not okay to pay someone 10% of what someone else is getting.
8 Jessica Chastain Earned Around $1.75 Million for The Martian — Matt Damon Made $15 to 25 Million
There's no doubt that Matt Damon was the main star of The Martian — after all, his face was the one splashed across the film posters around the world. However, Jessica Chastain also had a major role in the film, and the disparity between her pay and Damon's is pretty insane. She told Variety that she was paid "less than a quarter" of what the press was claiming she was paid — which they likely did in order to close the pay gap a little bit. Thankfully, The Playlist did a bit of sleuthing and uncovered that she likely made just shy of $2 million for the film — nothing to sneeze at, but definitely far short of Matt Damon's estimated $15 to $25 million paycheck. Chastain is a total superstar, so the disparity is pretty surprising.
7 Charlize Theron Made $10 Million Less Than Chris Hemsworth In The Huntsman: Winter's War
The Sony hack revealed a lot of dirt about unequal pay between female actors and male actors in Hollywood, and Charlize Theron found out some information that had her running to the negotiating tables. As documented in ThinkProgress, Theron found out that she was being paid significantly less — as in, $10 million less — than her male co-star Chris Hemsworth. She didn't complain about it too publicly, she didn't pen an essay, but she did go back to the table and negotiate an increase for herself that put her on equal ground with Hemsworth. That's how it should be done! We give her major props for stepping up and making the producers realize she deserves equal pay, and not agreeing to participate in the follow-up film unless she received it.
6 Angelina Jolie Made Half What Brad Pitt Did For Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were pretty fairly matched when they began working on Mr. & Mrs. Smith together. They were both huge A-List stars, and they had equal billing on the movie — after all, the poster featured both of them, looking flawless in formal wear. However, their salaries didn't reflect that equality. According to the Huffington Post, Pitt made about $20 million for his starring role in the film — not too shabby, even for an A-Lister — while Jolie made about half of that. And she's not exactly a shrinking violet, so we have to wonder what kind of information her agent had going into the negotiating room — it seems so crazy that she wouldn't command the same amount as Pitt. I mean, they were both stars at the height of their careers.
5 Halle Berry Made $2.5 Million, Versus John Travolta's $20 Million, For Swordfish
Okay, this one is just nuts. So, for her role in Swordfish, Halle Berry got a bit of an incentive — she went topless for a scene in the film, and she had an extra $500,000 added to her salary for doing so, according to ABC. However, even with that bump, her total salary for the project was $2.5 million, while NYDailyNews claims John Travolta earned a staggering $20 million for his role. He may have had a longer track record in the entertainment industry, but still — he certainly wasn't worth ten times as much as she was in that project. Seriously — we have some major questions about the people who prepare these offers and why on earth actresses have to battle so hard for equal pay, time and time again.
4 Tracee Ellis Ross Makes Around $20,000 Less Per Episode Than Her Co-Star
Tracee Ellis Ross and her co-star Anthony Anderson have equal roles on the sitcom Black-ish. After all, they play the parents — they're probably in roughly the same amount of scenes, have to do the same amount of promotional work and are equal in every way. Except, it turns out, pay. According to Variety, Anderson makes around $100,000 an episode, while Ross makes about $80,000. It may not be quite as huge a disparity as the millions that female actresses regularly lose out in for film roles, but still — $20,000 an episode adds up quickly. We're crossing our fingers that Ross decides to negotiate her deal soon, because she's definitely a shining light on that show, and her general cool fashionista status in her personal life definitely brings some extra attention to any project she works on.
3 Taraji P. Henson Made Less Than 2% Of Brad Pitt's Salary in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
We hope now that she's a much bigger star, Taraji P. Henson manages to channel her inner Cookie when it comes to negotiating for equal pay — because she definitely got the short end of the stick on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The Hollywood Reporter detailed the disparity, saying that while Pitt earned millions, Henson got low six figures and had to pay for her own accommodations. She spilled about the situation in her memoir Around The Way Girl, saying that "there are way more talented black actresses than there are intelligent, meaningful roles for them. This is exactly how a studio can get away with paying the person whose name is third on the call sheet of a big-budget film less than 2% what it's paying the person whose name is listed first. I knew the stakes... if I pushed for more money, I'd be replaced and no one would so much as blink."
2 Meryl Streep Commented That She's Been Paid Less Than Male Co-Stars Several Times
Of any actress in Hollywood, we would have assumed Meryl would be immune to the pay gap because, well, she's Meryl Streep! She's an absolute legend! However, it turns out even Meryl gets less than many of her male co-stars. She hasn't really gone public with any particulars, from names of co-stars to projects, but she did reveal in an interview with BBC Radio back in 2015 that she does get paid less, saying that "I experience it and I become a tiny bit enraged." Uh, we would be too — the woman has so many Oscar nominations it's literally ridiculous. We hope that she keeps fighting for equality because if even Meryl is getting offered less than male co-stars, what hope do other young starlets have?
1 Claire Foy — The Literal Queen — Was Paid Less Than Her On-Screen Hubby
Okay, you know Hollywood is a messed up place when the woman literally playing the queen — the crowned royal in The Crown — is getting paid less than her on-screen hubby. Variety revealed that producer Suzanne Mackie confirmed actress Claire Foy was receiving less than her co-star Matt Smith. Apparently, the initial disparity was because Foy was a relative unknown while Smith had international appeal because of his role on Doctor Who. Mackie addressed the issue, saying that "going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen." As the show goes on, hopefully, they'll add a few zeroes to the amount Foy is paid per episode — her masterful presence on screen proves she more than deserves it. I mean, the show would be absolutely nothing without her.
References: thenational.ie, huffingtonpost.ca, ranker.com, elitedaily.com, ctvnews.ca