Academy Award winner Emma Stone has revealed that some of her male co-stars have previously taken pay cuts in order to ensure that she received an equal wage for her work.
Though she named no names directly, the actress told OUT magazine that ‘multiple’ male colleagues have made the decision to lower their own pay cheque so that she could achieve parity.
Promoting her latest film Battle of the Sexes, which recreates the legendary tennis match between Billie Jean King (Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), she discussed the issue of gender equality with her co-star Andrea Riseborough and with King.
‘In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,’ she said.
‘And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily – that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, “That’s what’s fair.”’
She continued: ‘If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life.’
‘So much changes your pay throughout your career, so I go more to the blanket issue that women, in general, are making four fifths at best.’
The actress, who won her first Oscar earlier this year for her role opposite frequent co-star Ryan Gosling in La La Land, went on to reveal ‘I’ve been in a similar size role in films, and it’s been multiple people who have been really incredible and said, “That’s what I want to do. That’s what’s fair and what’s right.”’
Her co-star Riseborough, however, revealed that she has been less lucky in the past. ‘I don’t know how many films I’ve been in – 20, 25 films, something like that. And I’ve never had the experience of a guy taking any sort of pay cut. In fact, I’ve been number one in films before and been paid a lot less,’ she told Stone and King.
While it’s certainly heartening to learn that Emma’s colleagues are on board with equal pay, surely it shouldn’t be the case that an actress’s salary can be determined by the benevolence of her (male) co-stars: the fact remains that Hollywood clearly has a long way to go when it comes to better recognising and remunerating female talent behind and in front of the camera…