This is what I suspected the whole time: Mark Wahlberg got paid almost ten times what Michelle Williams got paid for All the Money in the World. I wrote of my suspicions as we were discussing the egregious salary bump Wahlberg got for a few weeks of reshoots on the film – he got paid $1.5 million, Michelle got paid less than a thousand dollars. That was just for the reshoots! Their salaries for the film – in which they had equal screen time and equal billing – were wildly disparate. This confirmation comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which published a fascinating look at how now, more than ever, women are discussing their salaries with each other, and how that information could lead to some big changes. Here’s part of THR’s story:
Previous lack of transparency hurt actresses negotiating film and TV salaries, and one antidote to the widespread occurrence of gender pay disparity appears to be sunshine. Take the example of All the Money in the World stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams. THR has confirmed that Wahlberg was paid nearly 10 times what Williams made ($5 million vs. $625,000) despite both having roughly the same amount of screen time — and Williams is the one being pushed for an Oscar nomination.
On the day after the Golden Globes ceremony, where the issue of gender pay disparity was thrust into the spotlight as a red carpet rallying cry, Melissa Silverstein, founder of the nonprofit Women and Hollywood and director of the Athena Film Festival, tweeted about that “egregious pay gap” between Wahlberg and Williams. That prompted Jessica Chastain to retweet, adding “I heard for the reshoot she got $80 a day compared to his MILLIONS. Would anyone like to clarify?”
By Jan. 9, USA Today confirmed the reshoot disparity. (Neither star was technically paid for reshoots. Williams received a per diem of $80 vs. the $1.5 million that Wahlberg’s agent was able to negotiate as a salary bump because the actor had cast approval and could potentially torpedo the film, already reeling in the wake of the Kevin Spacey sex scandal.) The story then went viral, and four days later, Wahlberg agreed to give $1.5 million to the Time’s Up campaign; WME, which reps both actors, donated another $500,000.
“For women in Hollywood, the system was created to isolate them from each other and to pit them against one another,” says Silverstein. “Women are taking back the power by sharing the information in a way that has never been done before.”
In the past, it would have been a major faux pas for Chastain to publicly comment on another actress’ salary, especially before it had been published. But that’s what happened thanks to a recent Time’s Up meeting. According to a source who attended, the Wahlberg-Williams discrepancy was discussed at length, as was Tracee Ellis Ross getting paid significantly less than her Black-ish co-star Anthony Anderson.
Go to the THR link to read more about the Tracee Ellis Ross situation. Much like Michelle Williams, Tracee is the one being pushed for awards every time the nominations come out. Anthony Anderson is great, no doubt, but he and Tracee have equal billing, equal screen time and Tracee is the “breakout star” of Black-ish. Michelle is the one getting award nominations and Oscar buzz for ATMIW. Clearly, the work these women are doing is being valued, but they’re not being paid at a similar level to their male counterparts.
The last time we talked about Wahlberg was when he donated the $1.5 million to Time’s Up, and little Wahl-bots flooded the comment sections here and across the internet, all with stupidly similar talking points of “Wahlberg deserved the money because he carries the movie” and “Michelle isn’t really a movie star like Wahlberg” and “okay now he donated money so everything’s cool and we can get back to business as usual.” No. What happened between Wahlberg and Williams didn’t get this attention because it was so shocking in Hollywood – it got attention because this is what’s “normal.” Stop with the shifting sands-reasoning for why men “deserve” to be paid so much more for literally the same work, and stop mistaking prestige for a paycheck.
Photos courtesy of Getty.