Actress Jessica Chastain is joining a growing chorus of Hollywood stars shining a light on wage disparity in Hollywood.
In a recent interview with HuffPost Live, the Oscar-nominated actress revealed that she was paid $18 million less than her male co-star Matt Damon for the blockbuster film “The Martian.” “ … Someone wrote an article once that said I made a certain amount of money for ‘The Martian.’ I made less than a quarter of that in reality,” Chastain said. “And so people are already saying, ‘Well, she’s making a lot less than her male co-stars because she’s making this.’ I made less than a quarter of that in reality, so there is a huge wage gap in the industry.”
Chastain’s remarks come on the heels of a widely circulated open letter written by A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence, entitled “Why do I make less than my male co-stars?” In that piece, Lawrence admitted to discovering she was paid substantially less for the hit film “American Hustle” than the male stars of the film when the studio that released the project, Sony, was hacked last year. “I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself,” Lawrence wrote. “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need,” she added.
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Lawrence’s candid commentary drew widespread praise, with even Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton singing her praises:
Although Lawrence is currently the highest paid female performer in Hollywood, according to Forbes, she still makes $30 million less than the highest paid male, actor Robert Downey, Jr.
As for Chastain, she has a long history of speaking out about the double standards of the movie business. Earlier this year, she called out the lack of racial diversity in Hollywood productions duiring an acceptance speech at the Critic’s Choice Awards and she also has spoken out about the hyper-sexualization of women in superhero roles.
“It’s wonderful that people are starting to talk about the wage gap, and really [admit] that it’s an issue,” she told Huffington Post. “Women can talk about it, [but] it actually moves me a lot to hear men talk about it as well. I think the film industry is an incredible group of people … and so the more that we all discuss it as a community, that’s what I think is going to help.”