Michelle Williams ‘paralysed’ by $1,000 fee as male costar paid $1.5m
Actor dismayed by reshoot pay gap with Mark Wahlberg on All the Money in the World
The actor reportedly received less than $1,000 for her work on the hurried reconvention of production on Ridley Scott’s film, which was reshot with Christopher Plummer taking over the lead role following allegations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey, its original lead. Her costar, Mark Wahlberg, pocketed $1.5 million.
Speaking in Washington, DC, on Tuesday during a hearing about closing the gender pay gap, Williams reported being “paralysed in feelings of futility” in the wake of news about the disparity, highlighting the lack of initial reaction as the most depressing element.
“Guess what? No one cared,” Williams said. “This came as no surprise to me. It simply reinforced my life-learnt belief that equality is not an inalienable right and that women would always be working just as hard for less money while shouldering more responsibility at home.”
She continued: “I’ve been a working actress since the age of 12. I’ve been accredited by my industry at the highest levels, and that still didn’t translate to equal compensation.”
The controversy only seemed to come to public attention, she said, after the actor Jessica Chastain tweeted about it.
“Jessica’s audience was much wider than mine,” said Williams, a four-time Oscar nominee who is not on social media, “and she wasn’t afraid to pick up a megaphone and be heard”.
“Heard she was: there was an uproar and a public shaming within my industry that resulted in a $2m donation to the Time’s Up defence fund.”
Wahlberg donated his reshoot fee while the William Morris Endeavours agency, which represents both Williams and Wahlberg, donated a further $500,000. It is not known if Williams received any additional salary.
The actor said her experiences had improved since then. “I could tell my workplace was shifting,” she said. “Rather than being grasped too tightly or hugged for too long as a morning greeting, my hand was shaken and I was looked squarely in the eye and I was welcomed to my Monday morning.”
Williams has just wrapped work on Fosse/Verdon, a TV series about the partnership between the choreographer and director Bob Fosse and the Broadway dancer Gwen Verdon.
Williams said on Tuesday: “On the job I just completed two weeks ago, I have to tell you, I was paid equally with my male costar.” – Guardian