Who do you think made more money for No Strings Attached, the 2011 rom-com featuring #AshtonKutcher and #NataliePortman playing a couple of friends convinced they can make the whole sex-without-feelings thing work? If you were betting that Portman's career would have put her above Kutcher in terms of salary, think again. The actress just revealed her male co-star was paid three times what she made on the movie.
Three times. Not 10% more, not double his salary, but a paycheck suggesting she should have played, what, three roles in the movie to equal Kutcher's performance? You could even argue that she's the main character, with her struggles and her friends at the center of the plot — but that wasn't apparently reason enough to pay her a wage similar to Kutcher's.
The Gender Pay Gap Is All Too Real
In an interview with Marie Claire UK, Portman admitted she was aware of the wage gap when she starred in #NoStringsAttached:
"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."
She explained that an actor's quote was essentially the highest they'd ever been paid in the past, which kind of puts us in that "you need work experience to get work" situation that we've probably all experienced.
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Particularly in this situation, it makes even less sense to rely on the actors' quotes, considering Portman has 73 awards under her belt, including an Oscar for Black Swan, while Ash-tons of cash Kutcher doesn't boast the same kind of stellar career. This isn't about degrading him in comparison to Portman — he's a great comedian and a handsome rom-com headliner — but in terms of budgeting, it just goes to show there's little reasoning behind the difference in salary, other than the fact that Kutcher was lucky to be born with a d***.
'I Wasn't As Pissed As I Should Have Been'
Looking back, she regrets not speaking up at the time, and she's very well aware that she's already paid a lot:
"His was three times higher than mine so they said he should get three times more. I wasn't as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it's hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy. Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar."
The problem isn't about how much an actress is getting paid to do her work — whether those sums are ridiculous is another debate — but how even their incredible filmographies don't seem to have any weight next to the gender of their male co-stars.
What can be done? While not all actresses have the status to speak up about this issue, it's crucial that their male co-workers be aware of the problem — and that women are given more opportunities in Hollywood. For her next movie, in which she plays Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Portman said she clearly had to work with a female director:
"I don't think women and men are more or less capable [as directors], we just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities. We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem. As this story is specifically about gender discrimination, I was like, how dare we not hire a female."
How dare anyone not recognize female actresses for their potential, is what I'd like to know.
What do you think can be done about the gender pay gap in Hollywood?
(Source: Marie Claire)