Octavia Spencer Says Jessica Chastain Helped Her Make 5 Times Her Asking Salary
Although the tides are turning toward more equality for women in Hollywood, the fact remains that they are still often paid far less than men — and the numbers are even worse for women of color. But Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer recently revealed that Jessica Chastain (with whom she previously costarred in The Help) is doing what she can to help make progress on that front too, demanding that the two women get paid the same amount for a new collaborative project.
“I love that woman because she’s walking the walk, and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer said through what she called “happy tears” during the Breaking Barriers panel at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Hidden Figures star recalled that, in March 2017, as the two women discussed a comedy project they wanted to work on together, Chastain said she wanted them to be paid as much as a man would be paid for it.
It was then that Spencer outlined the financial reality for herself and other women of color in the industry. Chastain reportedly went quiet as she took in the information — and then, she took action.
“She said, ‘Octavia, we’re going to get you paid on this film. And you and I are going to be tied together. We’re going to be Favored Nations [a contractual clause that ensures equality for all relevant parties] and we’re going to make the same thing.”
Not only did the approach work, Spencer said, but as of last week, they’re making five times what they asked for. “Now, I want to go to what the men are making,” she said. “But right now, it feels really good just to be in that conversation.”
Chastain weighed in on the story herself on Twitter, saying that now the onus is on other people — namely, men — to keep fighting the good fight.
“She had been underpaid for so long,” she wrote of Spencer. “When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.”
What do you think of Jessica Chastain’s move for equal pay? Let us know @BritandCo!
(photo via Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)