Jessica Chastain made about 20-times less than Matt Damon for ‘The Martian’

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Back in June of this year, Star Magazine had a very interesting story about Jessica Chastain’s pay for The Martian. Without a doubt, Matt Damon was always going to be “the star” of The Martian, but the film also features a strong ensemble with Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and more. Star Mag claimed Damon got $25 million for the film and Chastain got $7 million. While Matt was the lead and he’s “the movie star” and Oscar-winner, it’s not like Chastain is some unknown actress. She has her own profile, she’s an Oscar-nominated actress and she was front and center throughout the promotion for the film as much as Matty D. It seemed weird that she made so much less than the white dude, right? And now it turns out that Chastain made even less than what Star reported.

Actress Jessica Chastain and actor Tom Hiddleston joined HuffPost Live to discuss their new movie “Crimson Peak.” During the conversation, Chastain opened up about her feelings on the wage gap between men and women in Hollywood, and revealed that she actually made a quarter less than what was reported for her role in “The Martian.”

On the wage gap: “It’s wonderful that people are starting to talk about the wage gap, and really that it’s an issue. Women can talk about it, [but] it actually moves me a lot to hear men talk about it as well. I think the film industry is an incredible group of people, and we’ve realized that there’s a huge problem in that we need more diversity. We’re not telling the stories of many, we’re telling the stories of few. And there’s also a huge problem in the wage gap, in front of the camera and behind the camera, across the board. And so the more that we all discuss it as a community that’s what I think is going to help.”

On her salary for The Martian: “And I’ve actually never said this, I think, so here we go! There’s also misinformation out there. Like someone wrote an article once that said that I made a certain amount of money for ‘The Martian.’ I made less than a quarter of that in reality.”

[From HuffPo Live]

Less than a quarter of the $7 million reported. So, less than $2 million. My guess is she got $1-1.5 million. It’s a lot of money for sure, but when the male lead is making 20 times what the most high profile female actor is making, that’s a problem. That’s not Chastain’s problem, that’s Hollywood’s problem. I have to say, I kind of love that she’s out there actually providing some real information too. And if Chastain gets any push-back, I hope she goes public with that as well.

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Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN.

 

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174 Responses to “Jessica Chastain made about 20-times less than Matt Damon for ‘The Martian’”

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  1. Tooby says:

    So…the number for Chastain was inaccurate but the number for Damon is assumed to be accurate,from the same source? Even though the wage gap is a problem this is a problem for this example.

    Even a small clarificarion or disclaimer would fix it.

    • Kaiser says:

      You’re right, there is no confirmation or report about what Damon made. I’m going with $25 million because it’s pretty reasonable given what we know. Even if that wasn’t his upfront salary, you can bet he got a backend and considering the film is so successful, he’ll probably end up making more than $25 million.

      • Mark says:

        So what he was the lead and the most popular person in the movie

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @Mark
        You’re missing the point. No one said he shouldn’t have made more in this case, but 20 times more? When you look at the overall situation, it’s another case of extreme wage disparity. Easy for a man to say “so what?”

      • lisa2 says:

        I don’t believe for a minute that Matt made 25 million. He may have gotten a backend deal that would equal that; but no not 25 million. Just don’t see that at all. Outside of the Bourne films Matt has not headlined a huge blockbuster.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Kaiser …

        This really isn’t the best example to use for salary disparity in Hollywood. I know Matt Damon is the ‘beat up’ kid at “Celebitchy” right now, but the truth of the matter is the “The Martian” is 2 hours and 20-minutes long and Matt Damon–the star of the film–has about 2-hours of screen time. Whereas Jessica Chastain is on the screen for less than 20-minutes … along with nearly everyone else in the film.

        Perhaps a better question would be, “Is there salary disparity between Jessica Chastain and Sebastian Stan, because they were on the screen roughly the same amount of time or even Sean Bean, who had the least amount of screen time between the Big Names in the film.

      • koalacoco says:

        matt damon is getting beat up quite a bit here lately. for example, i’m gay and i didn’t find what he said about rupert everett offensive in the least, and i like md for bringing light to the situation.
        i lived in indiana briefly right as they were discussing the religious freedom/fire gay people/refuse them cupcakes legislation. it actually motivated me to move to Canada.

        that a straight man is sensitive to that is awesome.

        and if he wants to hire a director based on how much he likes that director’s work he should be able to.

        it’s as if damon has to explain his right to exist at every turn

        if people want pay equality, than it should a hit a few other boxes too. bottom line is women are smart enough to negotiate their wages and they should.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Lisa2, who wrote: “I don’t believe for a minute that Matt made 25 million. He may have gotten a backend deal that would equal that; but no not 25 million. Just don’t see that at all. Outside of the Bourne films Matt has not headlined a huge blockbuster.”

        Matt Damon’s usual salary range per film is between $15 – $20 million dollars, but mostly $20 million. This may be hard for you to believe, but it’s true. Since he made “The Bourne Identity” in 2001, the only times he has made less are the times when he has voluntarily waved his regular salary for far less in order to work with a director he likes or for a film project he loves (in fact, every Big Name actor who starred in “The Departed” waved their regular salary and worked for FAR less because they wanted to work with Martin Scorsese).

        Damon is one of a handful of actors and actresses who will do that. Damon also waved his usual salary to work with Clint Eastwood in “Invictus” and “The Hereafter.” And he famously worked for peanuts for a cameo in the film “Eurotrip” (Scotty doesn’t Know) because he was in Europe filming “The Bourne Supremacy” and thought it was fun.

      • Bettyrose says:

        *slow clap* to Mark for so concisely summarizing an entire thread of hostile trolls I recently saw on HuffingtonPo in response to a similar topic.

      • Sticks says:

        I’m with you, Emma the JP Lover. This is a bad example of the wage gap issue. I didn’t even know any of the others were in this movie.

      • crtb says:

        to Emma – the JP Lover: I saw the movie last night. Matt was the lead actor in this film and is on screen almost the entire movie. Everyone else played supporting roles. What you need to do is compare her salary with the other supporting actors. But it is unfair to compare hers to Matt’s.

      • mom2two says:

        I gotta agree with Emma here. This is a bad example of the wage gap in Hollywood. If Chastain and Damon were sharing the screen with an equal amount, or close to equal amount of screen time…I’d be with you here. Matt is the star, Matt carries the piece with a strong supporting cast. Like someone else said in this thread…if you want to compare her salary to that of Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean and other supporting male actors in the film…now that would be a story.

  2. Suse says:

    Not to say there isn’t a wage gap but he had about 20 times as much screen time as she did and by far the bigger and more difficult role. She’s a great actress and I am sure female performers get paid significantly less than their male counterparts but this is a bad example.

    • Kaye says:

      I agree. He was the focus of the movie. This is comparing apples to oranges . . . or Martians to support staff.

    • Beth No. 2 says:

      Yep, he had the bulk of the screen time by a large margin and the movie was primarily marketed on him. Hope she speaks up likewise for films where she has roughly equal screen-time and importance as male co-stars.

    • Merritt says:

      But that highlights another problem in the film industry, Not enough films are centered around female characters. So if people are going to justify salary by the amount of screen time or lines, women are always going to lose because the lack of truly leading roles for women. It is sad that meaty roles for women were more plentiful 60-70 years ago compared to now.

      • lucy2 says:

        This is SOOOO true, and I saw the perfect illustration of it when I saw the Martian this weekend. There were 5 trailers for upcoming films : The Big Short – the only women in that trailer were strippers. Point Break – the only women in that trailer were in bikinis on a yacht. Concussion – the only woman in that was Will Smith’s characters wife, with one line being supportive to him. The 2 remaining? Hunger Games and Joy, both starring Jennifer Lawrence, who seems to be the lone woman getting big films at the moment.

    • Alex says:

      Yea normally this would make me cringe but I’ve seen the movie…it’s mostly Damon alone. The ensemble takes up maybe 30 minutes together while Damon takes up the rest of the movie solo. So this isn’t a great example of a pay disparity.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      The point is that she is selling the movie. She’s being used equally by the studio to sell the movie. They’re relying on her star power as much as Matt Damon’s, in this case. You don’t see Matt standing next to Sebastian Stan to sell the movie.

      In this case, and in all cases of big movies, star power does matter. That’s what draws audiences. That’s why actors are billed as Oscar nominees or Oscar winners. That’s what brings the audience to what could otherwise be a middling movie. So it really doesn’t matter who carries the movie (particularly since studies show that movies are written so that white men will overwhelmingly carry them). It matters who sells the movie to the audience. She does–maybe not in equal proportion to Matt but certainly not a tiny fraction in proportion to Matt. If that were true, she wouldn’t be front and center with him selling it.

      Like Sienna Miller said, the women are always expected to do more press. They sell, but for a fraction of the pay and for a fraction of the role. No matter how you slice it, it isn’t fair.

      • lila fowler says:

        Hm yeah, well, Crimson Peak bombed at the box office and that is more “her” movie than The Martian. She doesn’t actually have much star power. That’s probably why her compensation is lower. She’s not getting anyone into the theaters.

      • Original T.C. says:

        From what I saw Crimson Peak was marketed around Hiddleston and Mia W. I like Mia but all her films lately look the same: Horror flicks where someone is trying to kill her. She needs more diversity in film types. Hiddlestons female fans aren’t that large outside of the inter webs.

        Jessica Chastain lead a horror flick before and it did excellent at the box office.

      • lucy2 says:

        If she’s being used to sell the movie, then she should be paid more than the other SUPPORTING characters she had equal screen time too – which hopefully she was. But there just isn’t a fair comparison of her and Matt here, it’s apples and oranges.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        But star power isn’t necessarily determined by the audience. Nicole Kidman rarely does the sort of film that makes millions. But she has credibility and huge draw as an actor. The measure of Jessica’s star power is at least in part set by the studio. They bill her a certain way (e.g. Oscar-winning actress–that absolutely lends credibility to a movie when you have a talented and billable cast, not just a single awarded actor), and they put her out front to sell the film. If they thought she lacked star power, they wouldn’t have her up there hustling. What they want is a star for a supporting wage–not a supporting actor for a supporting wage.

    • Jellybean says:

      I agree. Since there is often no script at the time of signing wages should be based on projected screen time, projected time on set, plus a factor related to the status of the actor, which will probably link into how much that specific actor is wanted for the role. I think it would be very bad to be too rigorous about the wages, but I think it would be a good idea if, within the production, people are aware of each others wages and so have the opportunity to question their rates e.g. ‘it may only be my first film as a key grip but I should be paid as much as that triple oscar winning cinematographer’. The reason I think that they should not be too rigorous is that you might up in a situation where a really talented unknown is not given the opportunity to star alongside an established star because the studio will be forced to pay them at a premium rate. In this case I would expect Damon to get a much higher rate due to his role and filming commitment, but for them to be much closer in terms of any status factor.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        “Since there is often no script at the time of signing”

        Can I ask where you got this information from? My understanding is that actors do have a script to read so that they can at least know what is expected of them before they sign. The script may be subsequently revised though and that is common.

      • Jellybean says:

        I have frequently heard actors say they had signed on without seeing a script. In such cases they will have discussed the character, but not the details. Also when there is a script the revisions can be huge, as is the case with most of David O’Russel’s scripts.

      • Jellybean says:

        Obviously if if there are no major changes to the original plans then the pay structure will be perfect, but you can’t expect an actor to go without being paid, just because the director changed their mind and their role ended up on the cutting room floor. I can’t remember who it is, but there is a director who is famous for doing that to some of the best actors out there – cutting their roles, not failing to pay them.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        Thanks jellybean, appreciate it. I’d heard of actors saying yes to parts without seeing a script and usually these are movies of famed directors like Spielberg or Mallick, where the actors are jumping at the chance to work with them. I never thought about whether “saying yes” means signing the contract, or it’s just verbal or informal agreement. I’d always assumed signing on requires reading a script prior, since presumably the contract terms would contain specifications like the amount of time, effort required, etc. But perhaps there are really instances of actors signing up without a script and I was not aware. Thanks!

      • Jellybean says:

        To be honest Beth I don’t really know anymore than you, but there must be some sort of commitment when an actor takes their name off the availability list and loses the opportunity to accept another role. There must also be some flexibility if there are delays in the start of production, I know actors do then drop out due to scheduling conflicts. I imagine they are pretty complex contracts. But again they will bend over backwards if they want the actor. I did read somewhere that Jennifer Lawrence had a two week break between films and that is when she filmed her part in American Hustle. It was a late addition, but the filming schedule and script was then altered to accommodate her. So when you consider that Amy Adams was there for every day of filming and at that time was of equal status to Lawrence, it really emphasizes how much Amy Adams was dumped on. Plus of course there were rumors that DOR verbally abused Amy, but that could well be rubbish.

    • Isabelle says:

      This. He was onscreen for 90% of the movie, her 20 times less.

    • twokids2 says:

      I totally agree with you.
      At the most she appears a total of 20 minutes in the entire movie. How can anyone expect her to be paid the same as Matt.
      This has to be BS, only said to create controversy.

    • JT says:

      This is a terrible example and actually does nothing to further the argument that there is a wage gap problem in Hollywood between male and female actors. He is the lead in this movie, of course he is going to get paid more! Obviously. How is this even a story?

    • Nikki L. says:

      He also has a much longer acting history and far more accolades. He’s a LOT more accomplished in the industry and is, by far, the bigger box office draw. This isn’t a sex disparity thing, I agree.

  3. pretty says:

    omg.. matt damon looks SO DAMN HOT in these pictures. wow… when i saw the thumbnail, i thought it was from years ago.. i always thought he was so much hotter than leo dicaprio or any other heartthrob…

    • kay says:

      Damon is not a heartthrob and never was.

      • koalacoco says:

        Kay you must be very young. For example he was people mag’s sexiest man alive title in 2007
        = heartthrob

      • skyblue 101 says:

        @: koalacoco
        Perhaps you don’t realize that those ‘People’ magazine sexiest man/woman alive titles are negotiated by actors agents/managers for publicity purposed? Usually just before they have a big film coming out. This was demonstrated in 2011 when Ryan Gosling flatly refused to accept the title and it went to Bradley Cooper instead.
        http://www.celebitchy.com/398486/ryan_gosling_is_too_artsy_serious_to_agree_to_be_peoples_sexiest_man_alive/
        Also calling someone ‘very young’ because you don’t agree with their opinion is patronizing in the extreme. I am not ‘very young’ but Matt Damon doesn’t do anything for me either.

      • koalacoco says:

        sky blue.
        i’ve worked in public relations, specifically in films, so of course i know what goes into sexiest man alive behind the scenes.

        i would classify a hollywood heartthrob as someone who has been presented to the public as sexually desireable. that is what i was trying to point out.

        calling someone young isn’t patronizing in the extreme, it’s making a light-hearted jab at the possibility that they aren’t old enough to remember the 90′s.

      • skyblue101 says:

        Well if you know what goes into these titles that was a bad example to use to uphold his ‘sex symbol’ status as it’s clear that a PR/ commerical decision is meaningless when claiming someone is a ‘sex symbol.’ Not everyone finds him attractive. Get over it. You also cited his ‘sex symbol’ status from 2007 – not from the 1990′s. Why make the point that the poster may not remember the 1990′s when you cited an example from the 2000′s? My point still stand, you were – and are patronizing.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Skyblue101, who wrote: “Perhaps you don’t realize that those ‘People’ magazine sexiest man/woman alive titles are negotiated by actors agents/managers for publicity purposed? Usually just before they have a big film coming out.”

        Perhaps you don’t know that Matt Damon actually tried to turn down the title. In fact, “People” magazine published the letter he wrote them, thanking them for the ‘honor,’ but asking to be removed from consideration because the ‘only’ title he relished was the title ‘Dad’ to his four daughters and he didn’t at all live the lifestyle of anyone’s ideal ‘Sexiest Man Alive.’ After reading his letter in the ‘Sexiest Man’ issue, I thought it was wrong for “People” to disregard his request and go ahead with it anyway.

      • skyblue 101 says:

        @ Emma …etc
        No I didn’t know that and I don’t see what bearing that has on someone using the ‘he was voted as sexiest man in 2007′ statement to uphold the idea that the poster believes he is a sex symbol when it’s apparant that those titles are arbitary and meaningless. Matt Damon who is deeply embedded in the film industry must also know it’s arbitary and meaningless so the fact that he turned it down means what exactly ? That he’s a great guy for turning down a meaningless PR title that makes out he’s sexy? I don’t think so.

      • Lauren II says:

        Matt was/is incredible in the 3 Bourne Movies. Matt is much sexier in motion – with a shredded – muscular physique.
        He is an Oscar Winner for Good Will Hunting.
        Matt was excellent in The Departed as well.

      • koalacoco says:

        sky blue

        You are making my day.

        i would classify a hollywood heartthrob as someone who at any point in time has been presented to the public as sexually desirable.

        calling someone young isn’t patronizing , it’s making a light-hearted jab at the possibility that they aren’t old enough to remember the 90′s.

        I was in high school during the 90′s and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were sex symbols/heartthrobs/

        You had to be there to get it.

        It’s not patronizing to make a joke about how young someone is…its called joking…but i love how seriously you are taking this.

      • koalacoco says:

        I agree on your point about Chastain. She definitly leaked this story to the press back in June; it seemed off then and it seems off now. I’d be willing to bet that her publicist leaked a much larger sum than what she received so that it would create the illusion that she was that well paid.

        Chastain actually leaks a lot of stories and they always kind of paint her as a victim. There was one story she leaked about a several years long relationship she had been in that somehow kept her from becoming a star sooner. smacked of entitlement.

        also let’s not forget how bad with numbers she is. she tried shaving off several years a few years back.

        she sees herself as a victim which is too bad. I guarantee even female movie execs are not impressed with what she has leaked and this will only hurt her career because he claim lacks substance vs. J Law.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Skyblue 101, who wrote: “No I didn’t know that and I don’t see what bearing that has on someone using the ‘he was voted as sexiest man in 2007′ statement to uphold the idea that the poster believes he is a sex symbol when it’s apparent that those titles are arbitary and meaningless.”

        Well, you wrote, “… those ‘People’ magazine sexiest man/woman alive titles are negotiated by actors agents/managers for publicity purposed? Usually just before they have a big film coming out.” My point was that Matt Damon did ‘not’ barter for the title for the reasons given in his ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letter. Moreover, he got the title ‘after’ “Bourne Ultimatum,” (his ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ “People” cover didn’t hit the stands until November 14, 2007, 3 months after “Ultimatum” was released) so what would be the point of having his agent/manager negotiate the title for him?

      • Leah says:

        @kolacoco
        I was born in the 90s and I don’t think its that kay doesnt remember the 90s that makes her post off.
        Its that she thinks no one can find Damon sexy because she doesnt. Its a little naive to think everyone finds the same looks as yourself attractive.
        Like i dont find Hiddleston or cumberbatch attractive, yet this site is full of women who clearly do.
        To be honest before he devolved foot in mouth syndrome this site was full of women who went on an on about Damon being their forever dong. Haha!

      • skyblue 101 says:

        @ Emma etc..
        I wrote “Usually just before they have a big film coming out.” Had I written ‘always’ I would have agreed with but the key word is ‘usually’, there’s an ocean of difference between ‘usually’ and ‘always. As those titles are clearly a promotional tool they can be utilized in any given year to give an actor a ‘push’.
        @ koala etc
        And you kept coming back to support your position so remind me again whose taking this ‘seriously?’
        “i would classify a hollywood heartthrob as someone who has been presented to the public as sexually desireable. that is what i was trying to point out.”
        Every leading actor in Hollywood at some point is promoted as a ‘heart- throb’ that doesn’t mean we all have to agree with that promotion.
        Finally, I suggest that when you come across a couple of teenagers who make a statement you disagree with, you might like to respond with something along the lines of “your’e so young, you weren’t there so your opinion is invalid and meaningless to me” Do let us know how you get on with that because that’s what you are saying to kay (still) and that’s why it’s patronizing.
        @ Leah – kay wrote a post for herself in her own name. It’s a stretch to state she’s speaking for everybody else. None of us do that. She’s clearly saying she has personally never found MD a sex symbol, an opinion regardless of age, gender et al, and she is entitled to.

      • MrsNix says:

        @kay: You have GOT to be joking. The man is divine! He is in my age range, and when he was younger, he was smoking. As he has aged, and he has aged well even through gaining and losing weight for parts, the man is still fantastic eye candy.

        Many, many people find him delicious to look upon. So…whether you remember the 90′s or whether People’s Sexiest list is ridiculous/fake/promotional trash…whatever: Matt Damon is sex on a plate.

        And, the Bourne series solidified his status as a Hollywood leading man/sex symbol, so…what on EARTH are you talking about?

      • Maria A. says:

        Well, whether he is sexy all the time or not, personally I thought he really rocked that western buckskin look in True Grit. That was the first and only time I thought he looked REALLY good.

    • manda says:

      yeah, Ive always thought he was cute. Even in school ties, and he was the bad guy in that movie! Loved me some good will hunting. Love matt damon. (Not really following the foot in mouth thing he’s been up to lately, but whatevs, no one is perfect)

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      @Pretty, who wrote: “omg.. matt damon looks SO DAMN HOT in these pictures. wow… when i saw the thumbnail, i thought it was from years ago.. i always thought he was so much hotter than leo dicaprio or any other heartthrob…”

      Yes! I always knew he would age into a heartthrob because he looked SO boyish for SO long. He turned 45 on October 8th, but I think he looks sexier now than anytime in his past. :)

    • misery chick says:

      @ Pretty-ITA! That mouth, that hair, those eyes…I’m 55 and yup, he does it for me. Just like a fine exquisite wine, he’s gotten WAY better with age…yummmmm…

  4. Miss M says:

    But will we hear any Damon’ splains on this one?
    I am glad she addressed this topic so well and gave an example about her salary. She cannot speak about Damon’s salary because she is not him and she probably doesn’t know his salary.

  5. Mia4s says:

    Bad example to be honest (and that Damon number is unconfirmed). Her role is tiny compared to his. The proper comparison would be what did she make in relation to Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, or Michael Pena. She should have made more, and if she did? That’s about on target.

    Wage disparity is a huge problem but we can’t manipulate to make every situation fit the narrative.

    • Tia says:

      Exactly! Just said the same thing.
      Damon is not comparable to chastain, she’s not going to bring in the same revenue. Less valuable in a marketing sense. chastain wouldn’t make anywhere near the same even if she was a guy. That said it wouldn’t surprise me if she makes way less than her male co workers of equal status. We learned from sony hack that even though the whole marketing of American hustle was centred around jlaw they still payed her way less than her male co stars. That’s how Hollywood rolls.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Well the men with supporting roles in American Hustle were White males. I’m going to go out on a limb (not really) and say that Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Pena didn’t make more than her. Chiwetel Ejiofor is usually underpaid and under-marketed.

        I’m all for full disclosure in pay checks, pretty sure Jessica Chastain wasn’t paid her worth. She like Chiwetel is viewed as a serious serious actor and not a “movie stars”, you get docked points for that.

    • Sally says:

      Male actors have no problem cashing in big paychecks for what sometimes amounts to mere cameos or secondary roles so why shouldn’t Chastain be paid accordingly. The pay gap isn’t fixed just through equal pay for equal work and it does refer only to that. Most of time the reason other actors don’t get paid accordingly is precisely because of the wage disparity. The system is broken irrespective of what big deal Damon is or what screen-time he has.

      • Mark says:

        Example of these big name white actors that are being paid millions for cameos?

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @Mark – Marlon Brando in Superman set the standard.

      • Chinoiserie says:

        Chastain is not a proven draw. Usually when stars have small roles in film and get paid a lot they have lot of box office hits behind them, big name regognition and large fanbases. She has only recently become famous enough for the mainstream movigoes to know her. She is an awards darling and if this film manages get some awards attention that could be considered an asset but she is not really making people see the film more than Sean Bean or Eijiofor.

        The way she can get more people see the film is because she is a woman and so gets more attention in woman’s magazines and women like to know that there is a woman in the film. However you could have hired many other women for this purpose. And the real issue here is in my opinion that there are no more female characters in the film, not her paycheck. I know the film is based on a book but it is pretty tiring that there is just one good role for a woman in a film. This is partially why people compare Chastain’s role to Damon’s. Since she is the female lead it almost feels like she has a lead role since we are used from that in Hollywood films. Even many people nominated for Best Actress often are for characters that would have been seen only as supporting characters if they were men. If Bean, Pena and Eijofor’s characters had been female would people have been comparing Chastain’s paycheck to Damon’s if even if she was the most famous actress? If she was a proven draw like Bullock, Jolie or Lawrence then probbaly. But Chastain is not on that level that she needs big paychecks. People do not get payed that much in Hollywood these days so 2 million for a role like this is not bad if you are not comparing to Damon.

      • Sally says:

        But this is not about Chastain’s needing big paychecks or not, it’s about principle. The salary rates are arbitrary and inflated. By that standard, no one outside Lawrence and RDJ deserves big paychecks, because with few exceptions no one comes close to their BO draw. I mean if that’s your standard for fair compensation, no wonder everything is schewed. The industry metric is wrong and complacent which is why it repeatedly celebrates male failures and punishes women and pocs failure. Just look how long it took to make another woman superhero movie. If A list white actresses are so underpaid compared to male counterparts, imagine how worse the situation is for everyone else. This nitpicking about screen time is ridiculous since it doesn’t dismiss the fact that pay imbalances exist in the first place. And those pay imbalances don’t have to imply equal pay. The whole point of equal pay implies a cut on someone else’s paycheck since studios aren’t charities.
        And the game is rigged against women and POCs. How many of Clooney’s movies didn’t underperform at the box office and yet that doesn’t cut into his paycheck. Meaningful change can only come with major redistribution and none of the players benefiting from the status quo will relinquish their power and privilege because Lawrence wrote an op-ed and Meryl wore a stupid shirt.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Sally, who wrote: “The salary rates are arbitrary and inflated. By that standard, no one outside Lawrence and RDJ deserves big paychecks, because with few exceptions no one comes close to their BO draw.”

        I agree with you on Robert Downey, Jr., who has earned and proven his worth by bringing Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes to life better than any other actor could, but I strongly disagreed about Jennifer Lawrence. Any female actress picked to play Katniss would have become a ‘box-office draw’ for “The Hunger Games.” To underscore my point, one simply has to look at Kristen Stewart. ‘She’ was touted a huge ‘box office draw’ for her role as Bella until the last installment of the “Twilight” books to film. We’ll have to wait until after the second part of “Mockingjay” to really determine if Jennifer Lawrence is a ‘box office draw.’

      • Sally says:

        @Emma – the JP Lover

        I agree with you. I referred to Lawrence only because she’s the best counterpart to RDJ at the moment, with her two franchises, as far as the payment goes. Of course there’s always Angelina Jolie though she’s moved on from her Tomb Raider days. Scarlett Johansson can sell a movie and her earnings are high thanks to the Avengers, but she doesn’t have her own franchise yet.

      • korra says:

        @Emma No I disagree. Lawrence is proven to be a box office draw in equal possibly higher levels to RDJ. There’s no doubt that the franchise’s themselves help a lot (and let’s face it lol RDJ would be nothing without Iron Man so a franchise REALLY helped him out and his producer wife) but at some point it’s obvious she’s the draw. American Hustle promotions featured her a lot. Her box office draw in even her oscar baity films isn’t really contested. End note. She is a draw. Her one movie after hunger games House at the End of the Street made a crap load of money. So sorry, she brings in the big bucks and that’s why she’s been put as the lead (and paid significantly more) for a non franchise high concept sci fi film.

  6. TheOtherMaria says:

    And if it were Rosario Dawson or Viola Davis, they’d get paid even less —I REALLY wish the Jessicas, Meryls, and Patricias of Hollywood would discuss the pay gap for their WoC peers as well.

    Equal pay doesn’t benefit everyone, multiple studies show this.

    • Sally says:

      The problem of the Jessicas and other white actresses is that they want to be integrated into the system and thus not rock any boats which is why white feminism is so tone deaf and toxic. Just because Charlize caught equal pay, it doesn’t mean anything got solved. At best producers will make some cosmetic changes to silence the complainers and throw the most important problems under the rug. The mainstream industry will always remain a white rich boys club which will sometimes take in some token white actresses and minorities.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        Seriously? So Chastain speaking out on the pay gap based on her own personal experiences is “tone deaf and toxic”? Just because some white actresses like Charlize secured better pay doesn’t mean nothing got solved. Her own problem got solved, for starters. And hopefully it sets an example for other women to follow suit and advocate for their rights. I wish people would stop looking at equality as some sort of binary issue between white women vs POC women, rich women vs poor women, etc. It’s woefully reductive. Sure, I can believe the gap is even worse for POC actresses, or that the disparity affects the livelihood of poor women more acutely, but wage equality should be something that is enforced across the spectrum.

        The pearl-clutching syndrome at CB strikes again. SMH.

      • Sally says:

        Not her per se… Oh please, to ignore the disparities between poor and rich women and white and poc women because we’re all one big tribe and we’d just all get along and defeat patriarchy is only those angry black women will be more respectable is willfully ignorant. There’s a brand of white feminism that is toxic and caters to the upper middle classers, you can call that pearl-clutching however much you want, doesn’t change the fact that it still exists and that it’s purpose is to be integrated into the status quo. You don’t see Julia Roberts militating for equal pay, even Blanchett finds it boring because they don’t have to worry about it. White feminism has screwed over women of color before. That where “you wait your time” mentality comes from in the first place. As for one actress securing equal pay – good for her – doesn’t change the fact that inequality is systemic and it can’t be ended just with women being more personal responsible on an individual basis.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        Please read my reply again, and point out where I “ignore the disparities between poor and rich women and white and poc women”. I even specifically pointed out “I can believe the gap is even worse for POC actresses, or that the disparity affects the livelihood of poor women more acutely…” In what way am I ignoring the differences?

        Also, you said “The problem of the Jessicas and other white actresses is that they want to be integrated into the system and thus not rock any boats which is why white feminism is so tone deaf and toxic.”

        You specifically lumped Chastain into “white feminism (that) is so tone deaf and toxic.” Why is why I replied to you because nothing in this article suggests that Chastain’s example is as egregious as you claim. And now you are backpedalling and saying that you are not referring to her per se… um ok.

        You make some valid points (e.g. the plight of POC actresses and inequality being systemic), but casting aspersions at white actresses across the board for fighting for their own rights is silly. Your point would be better served if you had highlighted specific examples of white actresses “screwing over” POC ones instead of making a generalised statement. I absolutely agree that it would be great if white actresses, being in a position of relative privilege compared to POC counterparts, can speak up for the latter as well. But I’m not going to begrudge them for negotiating their own contracts in a way that meets their criteria, or worse, call it “tone deaf and toxic.” That is a huge stretch.

      • Sally says:

        “I wish people would stop looking at equality as some sort of binary issue between white women vs POC women, rich women vs poor women, etc. It’s woefully reductive”. Your words, not mine.

        Women of color aren’t asking white women to fight for them and no one’s begrudging actresses fighting for what’s rightfully theirs. But between paying lip service and criticizing the state of minorities in Hollywood and actually doing something in that regards, it’s not actually helping anyone, no matter how good your intentions are.

        Arquette, Streep and Blanchette are examples of white feminism and privilege and they are pretty tone deaf. Toxic may be hyperbolic but when’s only words and no action, it creates the impression that things are getting somewhere, when in fact they aren’t. Or if they are, it’s only for the privileged few.
        You don’t see Sandra Bullock or Kate Winslet actively militating for a fairer industry because they are successful products of said system. Same with Theron. Individual success will not fix a systemic issue.
        So sorry if I don’t fawn over pretty words and kind thoughts.
        Just lip service is still toxic.
        The tone deaf and toxic comment was about white feminism, not Chastain since no one’s expecting her to start a fair pay revolution, I referred to her only as a generic white actress. And the comment still stands since there are plenty of white actresses – see Amy Adams – who wouldn’t even stand up for themselves, let alone others for fear of retribution and blacklisting, hence no rocking any boats. But when they’re asked, they’re all for equality in Hollywood but equality through integration tends to be highjacked precisely because you can’t fix it individually.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        Nothing in the statement you quoted at the beginning suggests ignoring the differences in the pay situation between white vs POC women, and rich vs poor women. It is an assertion that women, regardless of race or pay scale, deserve equal wages as men if they are doing similar work. Are there certain groups who are having it worse than rich white women like Chastain? Absolutely. But that does not negate the notion of pay equality as something which needs be enforced across the board. And yes it need not be binary; having prominent white actresses like JLaw speak out about the issue does not take away equality from PoC actresses. Rather it can create a catalytic effect which benefits women across the spectrum. We should applaud such efforts, not disparage them.

        “no one’s begrudging actresses fighting for what’s rightfully theirs.”

        Erm, you just lumped Chastain into “white feminism (that) is tone-deaf and toxic.” Your words, not mine. But fine, you’ve acknowledged that you do not mean what that sentence means so let’s move on.

        I agree we need action and not just words. However, that doesn’t mean words are unnecessary. It takes a degree of fortitude to speak out, cos they risk being labelled difficult or demanding and losing roles.

        The system is so entrenched that progress would probably come about by having people get more comfortable talking about it, that it no longer becomes a taboo, and actresses feel empowered to negotiate for equal pay. Hollywood doesn’t jump to action overnight, especially not when it impinges on profits. I see these conversations, these “words”, and these “individual successes” as necessary but early steps in what is probably a long fight.

        You cited Streep, Arquette, Blanchett, etc as merely paying lip service and being tone deaf. Can I ask what specific actions are you expecting them to take? And what actresses have taken those actions whom we can hail as shining bastions of feminism?

        And what about you? How have you advanced feminism in your workplace apart from maybe talking about it and pushing for better wages for yourself? It’s fine; you don’t have to answer and I’d prefer you don’t cos my intention is not to suss for personal information. It’s just to show often when we criticise others, our criticism is also “lip service”.

      • Sally says:

        First of all because she is a feminist, when asked “You’re drawn to playing women who take no prisoners. Do you consider yourself a feminist?” She answered: “Absolutely” and since she’s not touting intersectional rhetoric in an active manner, it makes her a white feminist. What’s so complicated about this point? Is she a bad exponent of white feminism? No. Does that make white feminism less problematic? No. I know feminism is a novel concept for many but in the big bad world out there, people’ve evolved passed simply proclaiming themselves feminists.

        Second of all, of course that sentence does because those four categories aren’t on equal ground and don’t necessarily share common objectives. White and rich women have more and privilege than rich and poc women or then poor and poc women. So that you don’t see why there’s a connection with the pay gap and an inherent tension between those groups, is not my fault. White rich feminists are not socialists and pretty words do nothing for a poor Latina actress. What they’re talking about are principles but they aren’t in a hurry to impact great change because they already have resources. Which is most things get postponed, few accomplished and JLaw’s op ed is touted as the next feminist manifesto.

        You can google for yourself Arquette Oscar remarks and faux apology, Blanchet’s blase attitude and so on and so forth. Amy Schumer’s blunders. This kind of mentality of waiting and making sure the white males at the Studios, at the Academy and at home, are comfortable with the rhetoric, so that with time, a black actress might actually be paid to the level of a white actress, is how the status quo lives on from one generation to the other. So maybe you have the privilege to think people should be grateful if sometimes in the next 50 years, they’ll see an illusion of equal way. I don’t see why other actions outside wait and see what JLaw does next or if Jessica earns more money, is the only way for people to fight for equal pay.
        As for what I have done, that’s a misdirection, since people on comment boards don’t have the platform, access and power of these “outspoken feminists”. That’s completely ridiculous. But since you’ve said that we should “stop looking at equality as some sort of binary issue between white women vs POC women, rich women vs poor women”, because it reductive, no wonder you don’t see why the power imbalance is against poor and POC women inducing change.
        Thanks for the back and forth.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        No, I stand by that the sentence does not mean ignoring the different pay situations among different groups of women. Read my reply in context:

        “I wish people would stop looking at equality as some sort of binary issue between white women vs POC women, rich women vs poor women, etc. It’s woefully reductive. Sure, I can believe the gap is even worse for POC actresses, or that the disparity affects the livelihood of poor women more acutely, but wage equality should be something that is enforced across the spectrum.”

        I wrote this, and I fully know what I mean. I fully acknowledge the imbalances between POC vs white women, rich vs poor. And I fully assert that wage equality needs to be enforced across the spectrum. These are not contradictory statements. But I have elaborated enough about it so I’d not spend time doing it again.

        But, just cos an actress is “not touting intersectional rhetoric”, she is problematic now? I would love to google a list of actresses – both white and POC – who have never touted intersectional rhetoric and see if you agree they are all tone deaf, problematic, etc. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are PoC actresses who have never spoken up about feminism. Great, let’s drag them too.

        On my question about what you’ve done, of course I’m aware that us internet commenters do not have the same platform as these actresses. I’m not equating your situation to theirs, nor is it meant as a personal attack. As I said in my earlier post, it is to make a broader point that it is easy for us to sit behind computer screens and judge.

        I suppose where we differ fundamentally is how progress should come about. My view is that it would take time, and limited steps such as the examples of Chastain, JLaw, etc should be encouraged (including encouraging white actresses to speak up for their PoC counterparts), not disparaged. As for the “waiting” point, of course in my fantasy we can all have pay equality tomorrow, but that has zero bearing on how things work in reality. And I still don’t know which actresses are the shining bastions of feminism that would meet your standards, but that’s fine. Thanks for the discussion too.

      • Sally says:

        Agree to disagree because you can’t dismiss the binaries as reductive and what they entail just because women should stand united across the spectrum. Your opinion sounds fine in theory and its what white liberal feminists like to tout, but it translates poorly in practice. Women of color have been screwed by white women before… just read on the suffragette’s racism or women who wanted to be equals to their male counterparts, because they didn’t want to be compared to the black help. And the list could continue. Those precedents and history exist, and no amount of positive thinking will change those facts. Mainstream feminist’s fight for equality is nothing but a fight for integration and acceptance into the patriarchy which is why it morphs into respectability by tone policing POC and shaming sex workers for example. The integration into the patriarchy is why it needs lesser groups to keep waiting their turn. There’s so many messy and terrible strands of exclusionary feminism that wage equality as promoted now by privileged people, is nothing but the illusion of a utopia. The view though nice, is not helpful since already the income disparities are astronomical in the real world. No amount of waiting will improve those imbalances, waiting will only worsen the disparity. But sure if enough time passes, maybe Viola Davis will be paid as much as Meryl was paid ten years ago. Waiting just isn’t a strategy. So it’s fine to appreciate these actresses and their stances but also to take into consideration their privilege, shortcomings and faults where they appear. Jessica’s excluded since this was never about her per se in the first place.

        Just like your thinking is aspirational with the waiting and encouraging not disparaging, so is mine. So it’s not about who’s a bastion of feminism but of what they could be / do to be more. So not touting intersectional rhetoric is not a problematic, it just something that white feminists could work on and not reject out of hand. Not that’s Chastain’s case. It just means that compared to the activists and people struggling actively with these issues, Hollywood just discovering feminism in 2015, means it’s 50 years late to the party / 25 years behind. What you see as disparaging is in fact a critique of the privilege afforded to these actors and actresses.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        If you read my replies to you, I’ve tried to keep the context within the examples of Chastain and actresses and Hollywood, and not going off tangent into every problematic brand of feminism under the sun. You make some valid points, but I respectfully submit that it is difficult for me to debate the points when they keep morphing:

        At the outset, you mentioned that “The problem of the Jessicas and other white actresses” and “white feminism which is toxic and tone deaf”. And then later you said you are actually not referring to Jessica and agreed that “toxic” is hyperbolic.

        You then mentioned “since she’s not touting intersectional rhetoric in an active manner, it makes her a white feminist… Does that make white feminism less problematic? No.” When I pointed out that the vast majority of Hollywood actresses, both white and PoC, probably have never touted such sentiments, you said “So not touting intersectional rhetoric is not a problematic”.

        When I asked “Can I ask what specific actions are you expecting (actresses) to take? And what actresses have taken those actions whom we can hail as shining bastions of feminism?”, you replied “it’s not about who’s a bastion of feminism but of what they could be / do to be more.” When “doing more” was part of my original question.

        That said, I appreciate the clarifications of your original statements cos they help narrow the differences in our views. I also absolutely agree more needs to be done (including advocating for PoC rights), and that results are what matter eventually. Where we differ is that I don’t see speaking out and the think pieces written by JLaw for instance as entirely useless, but like you said, both of us are writing about aspirational pathways to greater equality. That’s fine, and it also reflects that reality is messy and progress would likely come through many different pathways.

    • HeySandy says:

      I recall that some months back, right here on CB, there was a Jessica C article in which she maintains the under representation of POCs in movies. Specifically she mentioned the lack of Asian actors in prominent roles. Not the same thing as taking a stance on wage disparity for POC actors, but I was impressed that she dared to go there, even in an offhand way.

    • Saks says:

      Well then you are surely not familiar with Jessica. She is always speaking about opportunities for all women and she has openly supported people like Ava DuVernay and Viola Davis. So it would also be good if you would stop trying to make this a white vs black thing, especially because black women aren’t the only minority. Latinas, Asian, Native American, etc., also deserve the same chances.

  7. Minxx says:

    I’d be outraged if she had a role and the amount of screen time similar to Damon’s but her part is much smaller. She’s there at the beginning and again near the end. He’s in almost every frame.

  8. Tia says:

    I am disgusted by this whole gender pay gap. But realistically speaking as long as there is capitalism the person who brings in the most bums on seats will make way more. That is Damon.
    What’s really messed up is when he have someone like jlaw who brings in bigger audiences than the likes of Jeremy Renner and still gets payed less.
    It would be more helpful to know how much chastain makes compared to male actors of similar status.

    • Beth No. 2 says:

      Yes, the JLaw/Renner/Adams example in American Hustle is a good and better example of the pay gap. Amy Adams had a bigger role, while JLaw was a bigger star and was front and centre of the marketing campaign, and yet they are paid less than Renner.

      • Algernon says:

        Well, to be fair, when Renner was originally supposed to be the lead in that movie, but through rewrites and editing, he ended up with a much smaller part. That’s the danger of directors like David O. Russell, who write a lot, shoot a lot, and then find a completely different movie in editing.

  9. kelly says:

    Found out (based on Jessica Chastain’s exchange with a guy who works in the industry (writer/exec)) that the comparison with pay in this case was among the supporting cast, not the lead (Damon). So, it was how much Jessica received compared with the rest of the supporting cast.

    Apparently the lead (or leads – three – like in “Crimson Peak,” where Mia, Tom, and Jessica SHOULD’ve received equal compensation) always makes more than the rest.

    Source: https://twitter.com/DavidPoland

  10. Jayna says:

    The Martian is Matt Damon. He is the movie. He carries the movie. Her role is so so much smaller. She’s not a lead character. Why is she being compared to him?

  11. koalacoco says:

    Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams in American Hustler –excellent example of wage gap. I still don’t get how Jeremy Renner was paid more than JL.

    I agree with the notion that this isn’t the best example of the wage gap.

    JC had far less screen time than MD, and he has at least ten more years in the industry than her and much more name recognition than her. She would have been easy to replace. Him, not so much.
    Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, and Sean Bean, what is the wage gap there? Their roles were similar to hers.

    It’s not quite rational to just compare her wages against Damon’s. The cast for this movie was large, and it’s possible that she spent less time on screen than other actors. Compare her wages to the rest of the ensemble of that cast.

    A key indicator is the movie poster. It is selling the movie with Matt Damon’s name, and not hers as well. They know Matt Damon will fill theaters.

    Additionally, the crew and animators and several other people who made that movie make far far less than her in general. Sure she isn’t the worst actress, but she’s paid the big bucks because she is a beautiful young and thin white woman. There are a large number of people who were likely paid very little to work many more hours than her. Octavia Spencer would have kicked ass in that role, but she wouldn’t have been cast.

    In ten years, when roles really slow down, JC will be on of those white beautiful female actresses asking where all the money went when she was no longer new and young. Unfair industry to begin with.

    I’d love to know what Cherry Jones made in her last movie role. There is an actor worth paying.

    We need to figure out what’s fair and what’s not fair by taking into to consideration a number of factors.

  12. Sarah01 says:

    Actors and actresses get paid so much It’s shocking. Wage gap in Hollywood is by the millions!!!
    I’m more for wage equality for the non millionaires. Like the women who wake up 5:00am to get the kids ready for school so she can get to work on time, or the student who worked nights whilst going to college during the day and she’s got a whole load of debt, or the single moms who are backbone of their families, you know the average women who don’t get paid 1,5 million for a few months work.
    I know a lady from the Philippines she works 2 jobs so she can not only provide for her family in here but also for her family in the Philippines. She makes below the minimum wage in both jobs.
    A good friend of mine is in marketing and gets paid approx 25% less than her male coworker ( who is her boyfriend now) she has $45,000 in student debt.
    I’m almost laughing at “hey we want the same amount of millions our male stars get cause the millions we get aren’t enough”.
    I agree on the premise that women and men should have equal pay but won’t fight for the millionaires, who have multiple homes and cushy accounts, I want equal pay for the rest of all the working women in the world.

    • A.Key says:

      And I’m even more for wage equality for EVERYONE.

      Equal work, equal pay.

      I cannot understand people who are okay with a rich dude getting more millions than a rich woman for equal work, simply because they’re both rich.

      So rich men deserve to become even richer, but god forbid women should be as rich as men??

      JFC

    • als says:

      So who will trigger the change? The people that have no time or money can’t afford to fight back. Change on important topics depend on how much the privileged are willing to understand the responsability of that privilege.
      Where I work managers that have money and power and connections still can’t find the courage to voice their opinion to the own stupid supervisors. They keep their mouths shut, maintain corruption, remain doormats – rich doormats and the load is doubled for the
      working people. My managers refuse to take the risk of voicing their opinions even though they could trigger improvements in people’s lives. They are scared in spite of the fact that of they were fired they would still afford to livea very good life.
      This is why JLaw showed balls with that letter. Rich, privileged people need to understand they have a responsibility. Because of their money and status they can speak up more easily, they can push and persevere until things change.

    • jmacky says:

      Word @Sarah01!! People in entertainment work, but so do the rest of us and like the examples you mentioned, some work a lot harder than most and barely eek out a living. We as consumers have to make the change with our own pocketbooks and communicate how we want our society to look. The wage gap in Hollywood is ridiculous on a gender and racial spectrum, but also the profits for the big wigs–the white dudes who sit behind the desk in sports and arts entertainment make more than the GDP of some nations–for what? I’m sorry, but why should some folks own three-six homes across the planet while others have no drinking water? Rant, rant, i know i say nothing new but sometime it’s just too gross. Cry me river…

  13. als says:

    It’s Chastain’s right to make public her salary. And I am glad she did so that people can draw conclusions on real info. If Damon wants to join the conversation and offer a comment or any kind of real info on his salary is his decision.
    To my mind in the present situation it’s just a matter of how much actresses are screwed not whether they are or not – they are, all of them. From the public cases Amy Adams was hit the most but people forget about her because she has refused to offer an opinion. Adams was bigger than Renner as well. And Charlize definitely is bigger than Hemsworth.

  14. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I think the difference is appalling, and can’t believe all of the excuses posters are making. I wouldn’t expect her to make the same amount in this case, but 1.5 million compared to 25 million? Please.

    I like her, but the whole part about how Hollywood consists of such incredible people made me barf a little.

    • original kay says:

      It sounds like she didn’t do more work to justify a higher salary, in this particular case only. Meaning that her screen time justifies her salary, big star or not. ?
      That is why people, myself included, don’t think this is the best example of wage disparity. American Hustle wages seem to bring the issue to light in a more concrete way.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        No, it isn’t the best example on its own. Hollywood doesn’t lend itself to perfect examples. There are too many factors – it’s not like you’re going to have two MBAs from Ivy League schools doing the same job for different amounts of money. But I think the fact that he made 20 times what she did is part of a pattern of women being valued at so much less than men in that industry. I can’t think of a female star who is paid 25 million for one movie except maybe Sandra Bullock in Gravity. But you’re right, it’s probably not the best example to use on its own.

  15. savu says:

    Just came to say she was AMAZING in Crimson Peak. I know horror movies never get nods, but I’d love to see her nominated for this one. I mean, she nailed it down to the muscles in her face. It was really impressive.

  16. original kay says:

    I’d be more interested to know what Sandra Bullock made for Gravity, compared to Matt Damon for The Martian.

  17. Louise177 says:

    I haven’t seen this movie but based on others this is really a bad example. In the entertainment field so many variables are at play that it can’t be equal pay 100% of the time. If Sandra Bullock had Jessica’s part she would get paid ten times as much. Behind the scenes pay, like cameramen, are doing the same job so it should be equal pay. Also the assumption is Star Magazine is the source. Jessica could have read or heard of another number from a completely different source.

  18. Claire says:

    I support 100% equal pay but let’s face it! Matt Damon was the lead. Jessica appears 30/25 min at most. 20 millions per movie even if you’re Matt Damon is an obscence figure. Actors are soooooo overpaid. Scientists and other real heros don’t make a quarter of it. I’m totally missing my point which was that studios pay actors/actresses according to their box office draw and protagonism. Jessica is not a box office draw ala Jolie or Bullock but Matt Damon is.

    • kay says:

      Damon isn’t the box office draw otherwise he wouldn’t have gone back doing the Bourne movies.
      The Martian is a success because of its reviews and it’s a sci-fi movie. So please stop giving credit to male actors when movies make money but dismissing actresses.

      • Tia says:

        No one is saying that this isn’t a problem. What they are saying is that chastain isn’t a good example. She can’t open a film, despite what you said Damon has proven he can.
        Like someone said if bullock had been cast in chastains part, they would have paid her more.The problem occurs when bullock isn’t paid as much as Damon for the same type of work. Or chastain isn’t paid as her male coworkers of equal status and equal screentime.

      • Beth No. 2 says:

        “The Martian is a success because of its reviews and it’s a sci-fi movie.”

        The “reviews” have praised Damon for acing this role and carrying the film well. And plenty of “sci-fi” movies have bombed – Battlefield Earth, The Invasion, Adventures of Pluto Nash, Waterworld, Judge Dredd, Red Planet, etc. The sci-fi genre itself is no guarantee of box office success.

        Damon is onscreen by himself with no co-actors for a large part of the movie. To say that one shouldn’t give him credit for The Martian’s success (and why? just because he’s a man?) is ridiculous.

  19. Irene says:

    “when the male lead is making 20 times what the most high profile female actor is making, that’s a problem”

    This is like whining that Helen Hunt wasn’t paid the same for ‘Castaway’ as Tom Hanks.

    Now, if someone wanted to find out the salaries of all the supporting cast and compare their wages, that might be interesting, to see what the females and POCs got paid vs the plethora of white dudes with the same amount of screen time.

  20. OrigialTessa says:

    I’ve seen The Maritan. Jessica is just a secondary character. There are a lot of them in the film. Find out if Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels are getting paid loads more than her. Their characters are more equal to hers in terms of screentime and importance.

  21. HoustonGrl says:

    Good on her for speaking out about this. The fact that salaries are “taboo” to talk about is what sustains wage inequality.

    • Dara says:

      Yes! And it’s not just a gender or entertainment industry issue. I’ve been privy to a lot of confidential lists of salaries in my career and I’ve been shocked at the disparity in some. Compensation is not an exact science, but the only people that are helped by keeping that info confidential are the companies that are paying the salaries. If they can’t clearly and confidently state why Employee A is making more or less than Employee B then there is something wrong with their system.

  22. seesittellsit says:

    Um, far be it from me to oppose equal pay for equal work, but I saw this film and her part was much smaller than Damon’s – he was, quite clearly, the focus, star, and central point of the film. Her part could have been played by a dozen other actresses.

  23. Hannah says:

    In my field, I also earn less than people who are in a higher position than I am. I imagine she was paid more than Chiwetel even though they are very much counterparts.

    I get the argument, it’s an important one. I fought to be paid the same salary as my male counterparts. However, I also respect that there is a ladder.

    Chastain is not at the same level as Damon.

    And Gwyneth complaining about her pay in the Iron Man trilogy was laughable too considering she is barely in them.

  24. Cleo says:

    Another thing: The Martian was filmed in Hungary with its super low crew wages (ie not the U.S) so that Matt Damon could pocket his 25 million. In other words thousands of American jobs were sacrificed to pay one movie star mega-millions. Hollywood outsourcing at its finest.

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      @Cleo, who wrote: “Another thing: The Martian was filmed in Hungary with its super low crew wages (i.e. not the U.S) so that Matt Damon could pocket his 25 million. In other words thousands of American jobs were sacrificed to pay one movie star mega-millions. Hollywood outsourcing at its finest.”

      Only 20-set pieces more or less were filmed on a sound stage in Budapest, Hungary. The rest–all of the Martian shots with Matt Damon–were filmed in the vast desert, Wadi Rum (the Valley of the Moon), in Jordan.

  25. Korra says:

    Saw it on Friday. She has way less screentime. But whatever I’m glad she’s speaking up about it and hope she doesn’t get backlash from the likes of Matty D. She was front and center for the marketing plus everyone knew her from interstellar. I think she’s a bigger draw then you guys want to believe. She should get paid more. Not equal to Damon’s bloated paycheck for his MEDIOCRE WORK.

    Guys. That was one of the most mediocre movies I’ve ever seen. The cheese was laid on ridiculously thick. I’m so confused why people are praising Damon for his work. He and almost everyone were incredibly stiff, awkward, flat, and just plain awful. Only chiewetel was any good. That was not an Oscar worthy performance at all. For some reason some people believe it is. The science explanations made me laugh they were dumbed down so much. (Are people really that afraid of math and equations? Part of the beauty of science is the explanations and realizing how ingenious something is.)The ending was so stupid!!!! The audiobook is 10x better. I feel like this movies biggest draw is the fact that the science is accurate but that’s only because of the book and it’s science they mostly ignore in the movie. Especially in the ending. Overall highly unimpressed. Did nothing innovative at all. Can’t believe the praise it’s getting.

    • belle de jour says:

      I finally saw this movie yesterday, and couldn’t agree more that it is underwhelming. It follows every convention in space-disaster scenarios; it’s full of stock characters, predictable clichés, completely cardboard characterizations… and plenty of abbreviated/phoned-in performances.

      Damon is saved by the screenplay; most of his ‘acting’ involves delivering his lines solo to a NASA computer camera log, internal monologue VOs, and typing while alone. His somewhat cocky yet rascally, rebellious ‘likable’ persona in the character is no stretch at all from what he usually projects. While the book was witty and personal and brought something new & quirky to a genre not known for its humor, the film was shot and edited and performed in a Hollywood by-the-book manner all the way. Ugh. And I don’t even want to remember Jeff Daniels’ or Kristen Wiig’s characters or ‘performances’… I cringed quite a bit.

      All around, there was very little acting or innovative directing at work here for ANYONE to get paid so much money. But I do understand that in practical terms, major movie overcompensation often has very little to do with actual work or artistic worth… which is why I so seldom give myself agita by seeing monster studio products like this in a commercial cinema. I tend to just sit there with an internal cash register ka-chinging in my head, wondering what someone else could have created with all those resources.

      • korra says:

        Damn. I wish I could write as eloquently as you. Beautifully said. I’m so baffled as to why anyone is praising the movie and I suspect it’s a testament to how formulaic and boring hollywood has gotten that such a mediocre product can get so much applause. I’m starting to really question critics because the tongue bathing they gave this movie raised my expectations very high.

        There’s a lot of people saying this is far better than Gravity and I’m just sitting here dumbfounded. I mean really? Gravity had flaws, but it actually was innovative in it’s use of the medium (both sound, visuals, 3D, the theater setting, imax, etc) to tell the story. The Martian did nothing but stick Matt Damon on a planet and spout very brief science and one liners and hype up the scientific accuracy of the film.

        Can you actually spout this scientific accuracy instead of using people and salt and pepper shakers as props to dumb down the explanation for the idiots in your audience? I was just really disappointed with some of this. Him actually working out the math would have done so much to SHOW people how important mathematics is because he counted down to the calories. Lol, How Alive?, Calculations correct flashing on screen, the explanations of certain things, was all just incredibly cringe worthy. Most of the actors were wasted. Chiwetel was actually one of the only people who did a good job throughout. And yes. Cringe Daniels, Chastain, Mara, Davis, and quite often Damon.

      • belle de jour says:

        korra: Perhaps growing a crop full of Hollywood movie turds on a previously fine pile of prose is their idea of reverse engineering? Field of Steams…

        It would be a hard pick as to which was most annoying: the Young Turk wannabe stumbling around his nerd lair, then hooking his laptop right up to the acres of NASA supercomputer while remaining undetected… or the whole salt n pepper n suits in the boardroom Twister for Dummies astrophysics demonstration he bratted out afterwards.

        Oy. Mildly bitter because I admired the book, and had some hope for this movie. But, fool me twice, and all that… have no idea why I gave any credence to the reviews beforehand.

  26. Snapdragon808s says:

    As others stated above better than I could: why couldn’t the ‘martian’ in the title have been played as female or, Chastain played Damon’s role and vice versa? Because Hollywood execs still don’t allow it & Damon wanted a big check.

    And (if you haven’t seen the film yet, apologies) Wiig’s character plays into a terrible archetype: the bitchy PR person, and they whitewash a lead character whose name in the novel is Mindy Park (shades of Cameron Crowe, Ridley…?)

    And I loved the novel & the biggest sci-fi/comics nerd. Can’t wait to see what she does in Crimson Peak, but save your $$ and see Sicario instead.

    • Tia says:

      But it wouldn’t have been chastain if they wanted a female lead. She’s not on that level, that is why it’s a bad example. Bullock, joile or jlaw those are the female equivalents to Damon, maybe charlize too.
      they are not going to spend this much money on a movie unless they have a bankable star.
      When cruise dropped out of that Cold War movie they gave it to joile. At the time she was the only female who had enough box office clout to steal a part that was originally written for a man.

    • korra says:

      Her character in the book is far more interesting and fun and WAYYY more “bitchy.” She’s awesome in the book and has hilarious one liners. She’s weak as hell in the movie.

      With regards to Chastain, I have a feeling she negotiated for more, was shut down and then that story came out to make it sound like she was whining when she wasn’t even paid that much to begin with. But that’s pure and utter speculation on my part. Either way I’m GLAD she’s speaking up as well. It’s better for all of us in general for people to be honest about their salaries. The idea of secrecy is dumb.

    • Alicia says:

      “Because Hollywood execs still don’t allow it…”

      Um, Sandra Bullock and Gravity? Hello?

  27. KatyD says:

    I think people are totally missing the point of her comments. She NEVER said she needed to be paid as much as Matt Damon. What she said was that there’s a lot of misinformation about what women are paid. For instance, it was reported that she made a bunch of money when she made significantly less. Thereby, she says the media isn’t helping by putting a lot of misinformation out there. And she responded to support Jennifer Lawrence for speaking out. She has also supports Viola Davis and many other women who speak out about the lack of reprentation, lack of good roles and other issues. It’s a little sad that her words are getting twisted like this. But that’s what happens to women who speak out. That’s why all the others say nothing, and avoid anything controversial. Chastain is really brave to say anything at all. I wouldn’t blame at her at all for keeping silent from here on out. :-(

  28. Viv says:

    A fair comparison is between her and her male co stars who had similar screen time, character importance and audience attraction. Everybody went to see Matt Damon, he was the lead and was star of the movie. Very few stars have the audience pull that he does, that’s why the few who do get paid so much.

    Jessica could have been replaced with any actress same level recognition or unknown without any dent in the box office profits. Nobody is going to see her, nobody is waiting for her next movie so they can see what she will do next. She’s not a star. Gender is irrelevant. Audience attraction is everything.

  29. Liz says:

    Matt Damon should be raked over the coals OVER and over, and over again for his past statements and actions that help maintain the status quo in HW. Does Matt Damon “deserve” or “need” 20 million or even 10 million when his co-stars are making 1 million or less? No, he does not. What ends up happening is that the crew, writers, locations, etc are sacrificed to fill the pockets of ONE actor who thinks he “deserves” it.
    It’s an excuse to say Jessica didn’t earn comparable pay. Woman should be given equal screen time. Women should not wait to “earn” their worth, we should demand it. That’s how gay men have made significant changes in the past 10 years. They stopped waiting for change to occur. They began to demand it.

    • Janet says:

      No, they filmed in Budapest so they could use the largest sound studios in the world, and they filmed in Hungary for all except about one week. They didn’t do all of this just to pay one actor a large salary – they chose to film there for a range of reasons.

  30. lila fowler says:

    The very first comment in this thread needs to be highlighted. Why does anyone believe that Star has correctly reported Matt Damon’s salary? They were millions off with Chastain’s. If she hadn’t said anything, her fans would still be running around the internet, talking about what a bad b*tch she is for getting $7 million for such a small role. Both figures are most likely majorly inflated. If Damon had made this back in his Bourne days, I might believe that he got $15-20 mill for it, but $25 mil? Nah. Studios don’t hand out paychecks like that so readily anymore. Look at Pan. Look at Crimson Peak. Bombs. I would bet Damon got paid around $10-12 million for this, plus a percentage on the back end. Considering the amount of screentime that he has, I’d say that it’s just. Chastain just likes to make every damn thing about her.

    • koalacoco says:

      I agree on your point about Chastain. She definitly leaked this story to the press back in June; it seemed off then and it seems off now. I’d be willing to bet that her publicist leaked a much larger sum than what she received so that it would create the illusion that she was that well paid.

      Chastain actually leaks a lot of stories and they always kind of paint her as a victim. There was one story she leaked about a several years long relationship she had been in that somehow kept her from becoming a star sooner. smacked of entitlement.

      also let’s not forget how bad with numbers she is. she tried shaving off several years a few years back.

      she sees herself as a victim which is too bad. I guarantee even female movie execs are not impressed with what she has leaked and this will only hurt her career because he claim lacks substance vs. J Law.

    • Alicia says:

      Yeah, Damon’s salary was definitely closer to $10 mil. than it was to $25. He’ll make a killing on the backend, but his upfront salary was NOT $25 mil.

  31. teri says:

    In this case it’s not about equal pay it’s about box office draw of course Matt Damon is going to make more

  32. Frosty says:

    I don’t think the Martian is a good example, because all the other actors were secondary. There was only one lead, and that was Damon. So The Martian is a peculiar case, and Chastain’s salary should not have been compared to Damon but to one of the other secondary roles, such as Daniels or Eljiofor (both of whom still had more screen time than Chastain).

  33. chloe says:

    I think the pay gap between men and women in any business is frustrating and should be stopped, but putting blame on the actor is not helping solve the problem, it’s the producers and studio heads that are putting out the money, they need to be questioned on why this practice is still going on.

  34. Liz says:

    “Frustrating”doesn’t begin to describe the pay gap between men and women in almost EVERY industry. Part of the problem is the mentality. Women don’t think they deserve it. They slice and dice to rationalize an institutionalized practice that harms women. Very talented actresses are not given the same acting opportunities of men. Even if she only had 40% of his screen time. Do you think she received 40% of his pay and bonuses? No way.
    While Matt was the lead actor he did not write, produce, direct, write the music, make the costumes, etc. He should not be earning 20 or 10 million a movie. That money is being taken from others to compensate 1 actor. It’s ridiculous.

  35. People mag is a rag, and the label: ‘sexiest man’ is stupid, I usually feel embarrassed for whichever guy is being labeled at the time. Matt is a good actor, but he’s not sexy.

  36. Amy M. says:

    I’d be really curious to know how much she made for Zero Dark Thirty. Wasn’t she the lead in that movie? I didn’t see it but the trailer heavily featured her. I am hoping she got paid more than her male costars otherwise I give up.

  37. Saks says:

    After reading this I just wonder, if Chastain’s character had been a male would he have been paid 1.5 million dollars? Because I suspect he would have made at least 3-5 million, even for a supporting character.

  38. K says:

    Sorry this isn’t an example of the pay gap at all to me. First of all Matt Damon has proven consistently he can open a film and Jessica has yet to do that, I’m not saying she couldn’t but as of now she hasn’t. Matt Damon is also a huge star and an Oscar winner. Jessica is not either of those things.

    I also doubt Matt made $25 million. Now if Jessica made 20 times less then Chitewel then I would say you have an example. Because as much as I love him, and I do, they have similar career status in terms of both being Oscar nominees and known but not major a list stars who have been opening and headlining movies for the last 20 years.

  39. Liz says:

    Jessica, like other actresses, are not provided with the same opportunities. They are not given superhero or the leading roles that can help them receive equal name recognition. She is an Oscar nominated actress and she’s very capable.
    The Martian lists 37 male actors while less than half (17) are women. Why such a disparity? Women play a central, upfront role in all of our lives, but this is ignored by HW.

  40. raincoaster says:

    Come on! Jessica Chastain is legitimately about 20 times less of a movie star than Matt Damon, who already has an Oscar (or more than one? I don’t remember), and has fronted a huge franchise in the Bourne movies as well as having a pivotal role in all three Ocean’s movies.

    Jessica Chastain is a talented, perpetually-on-the-cusp actress who has been picked up by the fashion press.

  41. Liz says:

    Exactly. He was given those roles because he’s a man. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger as an example.

    The press and the public like to focus on a women’s looks. This is why fashion modeling is one of the few professions where women earn more than the men.