Actress Octavia Spencer revealed that her friend, actress Jessica Chastain, helped her get a huge pay raise in their upcoming movie together, marking a victory over the gender and race-related pay gap that plagues Hollywood and many other industries.
Speaking at the Sundance Film Festival on Wednesday, Spencer shared how Chastain negotiated for her to get equal pay as hers. This resulted in Spencer getting about five times what she was supposed to earn.
Spencer shared that Chastain, with whom she starred in the 2011 movie “The Help,” contacted her to do a comedy film together. “She called me six months later, which would have been last March, and we were talking about pay equity with men and women,” said Spencer. “She was like, ‘It’s time that women get paid as much as men.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah Jessica, it’s time!’”
“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,’” Spencer continued.
Spencer told Chastain about her story, and the two talked about numbers. Chastain admitted that she had no idea that that was what it was like for women of color, and she sought to do something about it. Chastain promised Spencer that the two of them will be tied together in the film and that they will seek equal pay for the upcoming movie.
“I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer said of Chastain.
The actresses’ confrontation of the pay gap issue comes amid the ongoing women-centered revolution in Hollywood, where women are working together to combat decades of sexual assault and harassment that have victimized many women, as well as huge pay discrepancies between male and female actors.