Enthusiastic fan of Jilly Cooper, books, horses and singing. Not a made-up person.
Ever since the Sony emails leak revealed the chronic pay divide between Hollywood's male and female stars, their pay has been a hot topic – now Jessica Chastain has politely but firmly made it clear that she won't take a job unless she knows what her male co-star is making.
She told Variety that enough was enough. "I’m not taking jobs anymore where I’m getting paid a quarter of what the male co-star is being paid. I’m not allowing that in my life."
Chastain, who became a blockbuster star following her role in Jurassic World, and has also starred in critically-acclaimed films such as Zero Dark Thirty, said that it was the Sony leak that inspired her to really look at the situation.
"I remember watching Amy Pascal — it was after the Sony hack, and she was giving a talk somewhere. She said part of the reason women don’t get paid equal to men is they don’t ask for more; actresses need to stop being so grateful. That really hit me. At first, I was really pissed off. And then I thought, 'She’s touching on something here.' Women need to step forward and demand they’re fairly compensated for their work."
The Miss Sloane star said that she will not take a role unless she is told what her male co-star is being paid. She also revealed that until she changed her stance, films would only offer her what they had left over once they had paid out for the big male name.
"I don’t care about how much I get paid; I’m in an industry where we’re overcompensated for the work we do. But I don’t want to be on a set where I’m doing the same work as someone else and they’re getting five times what I’m getting."
"Now, if someone comes to me and has an offer but wants to wait, I’m like, 'Goodbye'. If you want me in your film, do a favoured-nation clause. Don’t determine my worth based on what’s left over."
She said that her stance had resulted in her losing out on a role in a major film, because they refused to tell her what her co-star's pay would be.
"For me, it wasn’t about the money; it was an old-fashioned problem of the wage gap. I turned it down, and they didn’t come back. I remember afterwards I was like, 'What did I do? Maybe it was a mistake.' But it wasn’t, because everyone in the studio system heard what I did. So what you’re doing is creating a reputation: Don’t bring Jessica something where she’s not being fairly compensated compared to the male actor. Even though I lost that film, I’ve created a boundary. I drew a line in the sand.
"The power of 'no' means you’re educating people in how to treat you."