The creators of 'The Crown' recently dropped a bomb on fans of the series, revealing that the critically acclaimed lead actress Claire Foy who was playing the Queen of England got paid much less than her co-star, Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip, merely because the actor had gained more popularity in his role as the titular character on fan-favorite sci-fi series 'Doctor Who'.
Foy isn't the first actress to get shortchanged by the producers of a show or movie, and she certainly won't be the last. Hollywood is notorious for its outrageous gender pay gap, with female leads often getting as low as an abysmal one percent of their male co-leads' salaries. Here is a list of women who had all the accolades, critical acclaim, and experience on their side but were unable to negotiate for an equal footing with their male co-stars when it came to pay.
1. Harrison Ford vs Carrie Fisher and Daisy Ridley in 'The Force Awakens'
Harrison Ford was reported to have received at least 50 times more than his co-stars for reprising his role as Han Solo in the first installment of the third 'Star Wars' trilogy, having reportedly taken home anywhere between $10 million and $25 million.
On the other hand, veteran actress Carrie Fisher was reportedly paid in the low-seven-figure range for returning as Leia Organa, despite playing one of the most popular characters in the original trilogy. Daisy Ridley was paid between $100k and $300k as a newcomer for playing Rey, which is at best a mere three percent of Ford's earnings.
2. Brad Pitt vs Taraji P Henson in 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Taraji P Henson's dismal income from her role as Queenie in 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' brought light to the fact that actresses of color suffer a lot more from the gender pay gap than do white actresses. She got paid "the lowest of six figures" for her Oscar-nominated role, which she detailed in her memoir 'Around the Way.' Her co-stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett got paid in the millions.
She wrote, "The math really is pretty simple: There are way more talented black actresses than there are intelligent, meaningful roles for them, and we're consistently charged with diving for the crumbs of the scraps, lest we starve. This is exactly how a studio can get away with paying the person who’s name is third on the call sheet of a big-budget film less than 2 percent what it’s paying the person whose name is listed first."
3. Ashton Kutcher vs Natalie Portman in 'No Strings Attached'
Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman were co-leads in the 2011 romantic comedy film 'No Strings Attached,' but Portman revealed in a Marie Claire interview that Kutcher made three times as much as she did for the movie, despite receiving more or less equal screen time.
Portman said, "I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with 'quotes' in Hollywood… His [quote] was three times higher than mine so they said he should get three times more. I wasn't as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy."
4. William H Macy vs Emmy Rossum in 'Shameless'
It took seven seasons of playing the lead character Fiona Gallagher on 'Shameless' for Emmy Rossum to finally step up and demand more pay than her co-star William H Macy from the producers of the show. In an interview with Vulture, Rossum said, "When the show started... I'd never done TV before, I wasn't as well known, and Bill [Macy] is obviously an Oscar nominee. For the first few seasons, the difference made a lot of sense."
She continued, "And then, as the time went on, the leadership role started to feel somewhat shared. I suppose I just felt that I love the show I love everyone in it, I wanted to keep doing it, but I just wanted it to feel right." Macy added, "It’s a no-brainer. It’s something the country's gotta fix. You get there earlier, you work harder. Just a silly discussion really…Who's the center of the show? It’s Fiona. Of course, she should get paid."
5. Mark Wahlberg vs Michelle Williams in 'All the Money in the World'
After Kevin Spacey's scandal broke, he was replaced with Christopher Plummer in 'All the Money in the World,' and director Ridley Scott had to reshoot all his scenes with Plummer in ten days. However, for the ten days of reshoots, Mark Wahlberg got paid $1.5 million, whereas Michelle Williams got paid less than $1,000.
The industry was outraged at the news, and Jessica Chastain tweeted, "She has been in the industry for 20 yrs. She deserves more than 1% of her male costar's salary." Judd Apatow also tweeted, "This is so messed up that it is almost hard to believe. Almost. This is how this business works. I wonder if the studio or Wahlberg will do something to make the situation less insane." Wahlberg eventually donated his fee to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.