Marisa Tomei: Predator stories & pay-parity stories are connected

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I love Marisa Tomei. She’s the best. She just seems like a throwback in so many ways – she’s an old-school New Yorker who never left the city to live full-time in LA. She doesn’t look plastic. She’s a big supporter of independent filmmakers. She moves between small productions and big studio films with ease. She’s 53 years old and vivacious, funny and cool. Tomei sat down with The Cut to talk about her new projects (The First Purge and Behold My Heart), and she ended up talking about patriarchy and Harvey Weinstein. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

On Hollywood patriarchy: “Oh my God, these are scary times! One of the best things about this moment is that actresses are talking to each other. We’re so alone most of the time on a set — I cannot even tell you, with every cell of my body, how wonderful it is to be in communication with people I’ve admired all these years but never had a chance to get into this kind of stuff with. Just today I was able to reach out to someone to ask her advice about a negotiation. I never would have done that before!

Whether she feels pay parity stories & predator stories are connected: “Yes. Both things are telling you that you’re not worth very much — that you’re disposable… It’s probably economics. You’re gonna pay people who are just starting out a lot less, so try to get rid of the people who’ve been around and replace them with a cheaper, fresh face that probably saves time in make up. But also, when you’re older, you have more opinions. You’re more able to to speak up. You have experience and the experience does count for something — you’re worth something and you want to have a conversation about things, and it’s probably just a headache for some people.

It also has a lot to do with internalized misogyny: “I think it has to do with internalized misogyny! More than anything else. But I’m trying to break it down to what could maaaaybe be the justification, like, “Oh, it makes sense on paper.” But no, I think it’s absolutely just internalized misogyny. But even now, speaking to you about this, I feel vulnerable…I have all of these little negative voices, doubts, and it makes it — it’s my internalized misogyny — like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

On being a character actress: “Well, I never intended to get into only supporting roles … [Laughs] that wasn’t really my goal. My feeling was, all roles are great and it’s just what you want to do with it and whether you want to be part of a certain project or you feel like this would be a fun character to try on. Usually the “wing man” has a lot more interest, is funnier, has a lot more character. I want to know that person’s life and their insides.

She knew the Harvey Weinstein story was coming: “I knew that it was coming, but not to the degree that it was coming. I had been interviewed for it because I had worked with Harvey when I was 21, and someone had seen me crying on the set. Word got back to the reporters, and they thought maybe they should talk to me. No, [I wasn’t named] because I just told them, “I probably cried every day when I was 21.” I am sure it was just something else. But I did call some of my longtime girlfriends to ask, “Did something happen that I am actually not remembering right now?” Because I know I would have told them. And nothing overt did.

[From The Cut]

“Both things are telling you that you’re not worth very much — that you’re disposable.” That’s it in a nutshell, and I applaud Marisa and The Cut for acknowledging the connection of those two issues. There was a reason why Time’s Up sprang from Me Too, and it’s because of that connection. Women have been treated like garbage across the board, to being harassed and abused and assaulted, to being chronically underpaid. All because the patriarchy – which women do internalize – says that girls and women are disposable.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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8 Responses to “Marisa Tomei: Predator stories & pay-parity stories are connected”

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  1. BlueSky says:

    Patriarchy also tries to play women against each other so that they don’t speak to each other but now with the Me too movement, more of them are reaching out to each other.

  2. SympathyRage says:

    And those nagging thoughts that you are wrong about stuff. The thing is, for me, it isn’t tha I am actuslly correct, it is that women are allowed to be wrong!!! When are men ever right?! We are allowed to butt into conversations of which we know nothing about spew opinions and drivel just like men do. Speak first, and pretend you were right later. That’s the man’s way.

  3. adastraperaspera says:

    I adore her, and I appreciate her take on this. It is absurd that great actresses like Marisa do not have wonderful roles and stories pitched at them weekly! Movies are so boring. The same old sexist tropes and narratives over and over.

  4. Snazzy says:

    Those comments were spot on. Love her

  5. Carrie1 says:

    She’s always been a favourite. She’s a good human.

  6. Bella Bella says:

    I love her, but there is no way Marisa is 53. I have a friend who went to school with her.

  7. Tosca says:

    I’ve always loved her as an actress, and now I’m reading she’s smart and real, as well. Awesome.

  8. Ladiabla says:

    Love Marisa, she’s always been a favorite too. And she’s got such great hair. Looking at the pic above (love the dress), I had a random thought- why on earth did they not choose Marisa to play Mary Corleone?! She would have been perfect!! I know Winona dropped out at the time due to illness (and I love Winona) but I think Marisa would have been greatness. She would have been 24 or 25 at the time, and even if she was 30, she has such a youthful face (she still does) that she could’ve passed for 19-20 easily.