Equal work for equal pay should be the standard in Hollywood and across all industries, but sadly it's not. Thankfully, through movements like Time's Up, this disparity is starting to change, but often it takes women advocating for themselves and each other to see results. As was the case for Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer.
At the Sundance Film Festival, Spencer revealed that Chastain helped her achieve five times her original salary for their upcoming movie together. During “Women Breaking Barriers” panel, she explained to the crowd her friend negotiated equal pay to hers for Spencer.
“About 15 months ago, Jessica Chastain…contacted me and said, ‘I want us to do a comedy,'” The Shape of Water actress said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah!’ She called me six months later, which would have been last March, and we were talking about pay equity with men and women. She was like, ‘It’s time that women get paid as much as men.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah Jessica, it’s time!’ We were dropping F-bombs and getting it all out there.”
“And then I said, ‘But here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So, if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table,'" she continued. "And I told her my story, and we talked numbers, and she was quiet, and she said she had no idea that that’s what it was like for women of color.”
While telling the story, Spencer got emotional and began to cry "happy tears."
“I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer gushed of Chastain. “She said, ‘Octavia we’re gonna get you paid on this film. You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.’ Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”