Michelle Williams Has More to Say About Hollywood's Equal Pay Problem
"There really won’t be any satisfaction for me until the larger message is heard," she says after her impassioned speech at the Emmys.
After an empassioned Emmys speech that lit up the internet last night, Michelle Williams took the conversation in the Emmys press room. While holding her Emmy, she spoke more about the wake-up moment that inspired her to speak out.
“The discrepancy in All the Money In the World was so huge that it really illustrated a larger point," she said. "Not just for myself, obviously, but as I said before, if it was as difficult for me, a white woman in a privileged industry, how difficult is it for women of color across all industries? So while tonight is kind of a fairytale ending for me and for my own personal story, there really won’t be any satisfaction for me until the larger message is heard. That’s what I really wanted to point out tonight.”
As was widely reported, Wahlberg was paid 1.5 million to re-shoot scenes for the film, while Williams received only $80 a day for the same work (a total of $1,000). Adding insult to injury, both actors were represented by the same agency that negotiated the hefty fee for Wahlberg, William Morris Endeavor. After the news came out, Wahlberg and William Morris donated 2 million to the Time’s Up legal defense fund.
“It woke me up,” Williams said. “I think that I’d always known how difficult it was. I’d known from the inside how difficult it was to feel like you’re not really getting ahead. And it felt like no matter how many accolades I amassed, I still couldn’t make that translate into retirement money or something that really felt like long-term security.”
Williams wanted to be very specific about the issues faced by women of color, saying, “When you look at the numbers: 53 cents on the dollar is what Hispanic women make here to white males. The numbers aren’t out yet for Native women, but are expected to be worse than for Hispanic women.”
VIDEO: Michelle Williams at the 2019 Emmys
As for her role as Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon, Williams said she had the “most fun” singing and dancing in the project. “When you’re singing and dancing, you sort of feel like you’re a child,” she said. “You forget about logic and you follow melody and rhythm.”
The most challenging aspect? Dealing with Gwen’s aging process. “I’d never really wanted to age on film, because I was worried about the prosthetics and being able to access the real, kind of translucent human quality underneath the plastic and things,” she said. “But I worked with two women who I love, Nicole Bridgeford and Jackie Risotto. They did my hair and makeup and we just kept refining it into a place where it felt really natural and so in the end, my favorite part of playing her was when she was 64.”
As for what Gwen might say about Williams’ win Sunday night, Williams hoped she would be proud. “Whenever I’d meet somebody who knew her, the thing that they’d say over and over again was she was just the kindest person I ever knew,” she said. “So, I’m sure that she’d have nothing but warmth and loveliness and hugs and champagne bubbles about tonight.”