Elizabeth Banks on the wage gap: ‘you start to feel that it’s kind of bullsh-‘

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2' Los Angeles Premiere

2015 was quite the busy year for actress/director/producer Elizabeth Banks. She earned critical praise for her roles in the Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2. In addition, she signed a 2-year contract with Universal and began work on two new movies, Heist Society and White Girl Problems. Oh, and there was her directorial debut, Pitch Perfect 2, which earned a whopping $287.1 million worldwide. 2016 looks even brighter for Elizabeth as she’s set to direct Pitch Perfect 3 and a big screen adaptation of the young adult novel Red Queen, as well as a Charlie’s Angels reboot (why?) Speaking of reboots, Elizabeth was just cast as villainess Rita Repulsa for the upcoming Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie.

Who knew that Elizabeth, whom audiences took notice of in her small but memorable part as a randy book store employee in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, would make it so big? She recently spoke with Vanity Fair about her success, working as a producer with her husband, Max Handelman, whom she married in 2003, and the still present wage gap between men and women in Hollywood. Here are some highlights from the interview:

On how she achieved success
“There’s only three things that can happen to you when you come to Hollywood. You can break big right away. You can work, work, work, and just be consistent. Or you can flame out. So (1) didn’t happen for me; (2) happened. And probably five years ago, I felt like, I’m O.K., I’m gonna work. Which gives you a lot of courage in this business. And you’d better understand that it is a business.”

She founded a production company with her husband
“We have always made decisions that kept us together as a couple. We like working together. We’re good at working together.”

On growing their company, Brownstone Productions
“We talked about producing as sort of a three-legged stool. You have to have taste, first. You have to have access—know writers and directors and agents. And then you have to have clout. And clout comes when you direct or produce a hit movie.”

“[Pitch Perfect was] not a one-off. When you do it twice, that’s meaningful. You actually knew what you were doing and there was design to what you did.”

On the wage gap
“I have two young boys. And they do not like to share and they do not like change. That’s humanity. As you go on in this business, especially as a woman, and you start thinking about all the opportunities and money that the men at your level are making, you definitely start to feel that it’s kind of bullsh-. I love acting. This all came about partially because I was frustrated in my acting career. I had nothing to lose by directing.”

[From Vanity Fair]

What a down to earth lady. I hope she encourages more women in Hollywood to fight this archaic wage gap. She’s no stranger to taking on causes – in fact, the first project she ever directed was a funny, informative P.S.A. for the American Heart Association called Just A Little Heart Attack. I am glad she’s still going to be in front of the camera as well. You know she’s going to bring it as Rita Repulsa, right? So yeah, I’ll go ahead and say it, the odds are certainly in her favor.

VH1 Big In 2015 With Entertainment Weekly Awards - Arrivals

Los Angeles premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2'

Premiere Of Walt Disney Pictures And Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" - Arrivals

Photo Credit: WENN.com, Fame Flynet

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16 Responses to “Elizabeth Banks on the wage gap: ‘you start to feel that it’s kind of bullsh-‘”

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  1. Esther says:

    isnt Brownstone slang for heroin?

    “We have always made decisions that kept us together as a couple”
    what an odd thing to say. dont most couples do that?

    • noway says:

      I think she may be talking physically not just emotionally, and not all couples do that. Some make career decisions that are great for their career, but bad for their relationship both physically and emotionally.

      Yes Brownstone was slang for heroin, especially back in the early 90’s not sure it is used too much now, or if that is what they meant or not. Who knows maybe they met in a brownstone house. Never heard that either one had a drug problem.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I’m guessing they live in a brownstone, common name for a building type in NYC.

      And I’m thinking she meant that they like to do projects they can work on together, so they’re not spending so much time apart.

  2. lovemesseg says:

    Good for her!

  3. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I think this generation of women is fed up with the wage gap, rape and other kinds of oppression. I think we might actually make some progress in these areas. My generation kind of paved the way, I guess, but we were mostly told to stop being man-haters and shut up. Not to belittle the effort – it took courage and it helped. But I have hope that attitudes might finally change because young women today just aren’t having it. It makes me proud.

    • INeedANap says:

      I agree with you and I don’t know what’s changed. At least in my case, I am smart enough and educated enough to recognize “man-hater”, “feminazi”, and “un-ladylike” as the bull$hit thought-terminating clichés they are.

      I am loving this spate of actresses talking about wage gap issues. It drives me batty the number of men who are convinced there is a “wage gap myth”. No, ponyboys, women start seeing a backslide in wages from the second they are hired and punished for negotiating, and the largest gaps become apparent only 1 year out of college. Grrr.

    • Lucy2 says:

      Women Elizabeth’s age grew up thinking they could do anything, because of the work done by earlier generations, and when they see it being taken away or playing out unfairly, they can fight back.
      I think social media has also played a part, it’s rarely just one lone voice speaking out anymore.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I still see many many women (in their 20s and 30s) being afraid to ask for things when they feel treated unfairly. In the workplace and in their personal lives. I’m not one of those women and I don’t feel like I’ve had any disadvantages because of it. I work hard and I want to be compensated fairly for good work, damn it. It makes me angry to still see a lot of women sit around and go “Well, they won’t care when I ask.” Um, they might? And if not, then you have a decision to make. And I’m not talking single moms or anything. People with skills who could easily find another job. But it’s nice to see that sometimes it helps to just ask “Is this how you want to keep going though? What is the worst that can happen? Realistically?”

      I listen to my mom’s stories (she was not someone to hold back either, she’s 67) and it really was a lot different for her generation as a whole. They had the opportunities on paper but the rest was a constant fight. At least we don’t have to fight that hard anymore. I just wish we’d encourage each other more.

  4. Jess says:

    Good for her!

  5. CornyBlue says:

    I love her and good for these women for speaking out about it. I wish she had been better about PP2 though. Movie was such a letdown.

  6. Lucy says:

    What an amazing person she is. As a woman and as a professional. Yes, I know she’s also a privileged white woman, but I’m sure that she’s aware of it, and that she is one to really make a difference.

  7. Breakfast Margaritas says:

    This is the first actress interview I’ve truly enjoyed in a long time.

  8. Carol says:

    I never found her funny or entertaining (I admit I haven’t seen Mockingjay or Love and Mercy) but she is pretty smart. I think she graduated Magna Cum Laude from U-Penn.

  9. dj says:

    I love Elizabeth Banks. She makes opportunities for herself. I respect her for that. Another thing I really appreciate is her deep, sexy laugh. When EB appears on Modern Family as Cam (& his partner’s) best friend she is hilarious, crazy & naughty! She takes work on TV (I.e., real estate app pitch woman, MF), directs, produces and acts in movies too. As my mother would say, “she makes hay while the sun still shines.” Awesome authentic woman. You go EB!

  10. Tiffany :) says:

    “What a down to earth lady”

    I saw her at the grocery store last week. I’m a huge fan, but didn’t interrupt her errand.