Forget Bradley Cooper, Director Guillermo Del Toro Is Already Fighting The Wage Gap In Hollywood

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We are well aware there are plenty of people who go around denying the wage gap exists, but with the scandalous Sony Leaks of 2014 which revealed significant pay disparity between female and male stars on some big Hollywood movies, it became undeniable. The news that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams got paid a lot less (we’re talking millions!) than co-stars Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale on ‘American Hustle’ gave light to the issue in a much more confronting way.

All of a sudden there was no speculation, it was in ink. Just recently actress Jennifer Lawrence (who we’d like to say is a much bigger star than the aforementioned three male actors, after all she is the face of two major blockbuster franchises – ‘X-MEN’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ and for the past 2 years in a row, ‘The Hunger Games’ movies were the biggest selling films at the box office) broke her silence about the issue in an essay for Lena Dunhams’ Lenny Letter, saying how effed up it is that she was paid less simply for her gender.

Since her admission and obvious anger, it has gotten a lot of attention not just in the media, but also amongst the Hollywood elite. Her ‘American Hustle’ co-star Bradley Cooper expressed how shocked he was at the whole issue, and vowed to do something about it. He talked about Amy Adams, who ended up getting nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the film.

She worked everyday on that movie and got paid nothing. It’s really horrible actually, it’s almost embarrassing. [She] should have been paid more than everybody,” he said in a statement to the press.

However he acknowledges the power of someone like Jennifer Lawrence speaking up because hopefully it would encourage people like Amy to negotiate a better salary knowing the disparity that clearly exists in the industry.

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In her essay, Jennifer didn’t blame the wage gap issue on blatant sexism, rather the ways men and women negotiate differently and the subtle ways women are made to feel they are not worth being paid more (i.e, not wanting to be branded a “brat” as she said) which then prevents them from demanding what they are worth in the first place.

Bradley Cooper wants to change that and says he has started teaming up with his female co-stars to negotiate the same salaries before any film he is interested in working on goes into production.

I don’t know where it’s changing otherwise but that’s something that I could do. Usually you don’t talk about the financial stuff, you have people. But you know what? It’s time to start doing that,” he said.

Of course we are yet to see this happen, but his bold statement is important and we hope he commits to this plan of action.

But he is not the only person we need to pin our hopes on, as there are men in the industry already waging a war with the pay gap on behalf women. Award-winning Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, best known for major action blockbuster movies such as ‘Hellboy’, ‘Blade II’, ‘The Hobbit’ series, and ‘Pacific Rim’, recently made a startling admission about his most recent film ‘Crimson Peak’ in an interview with Jorge Ramos for the Fusion network, alongside actress Jessica Chastain.

He told Jorge that ‘Crimson Peak’ ended up taking NINE YEARS to finance, because it was female-centric, and also divulges what studios tell him when it is a film based around a female character.

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“I’ve had projects where expressly the studio says ‘this is the limit of your budget because it’s a female character’. I still keep writing them, I don’t care,” he said.

Wow, let’s just take that in for a moment and understand what women in film are really up against. This is not some governmental statistic outlining women getting paid 77c to every $1 a man makes for doing the same job, this is a private industry where millions and millions of dollars are at stake and they can do whatever they want with the money, yet being a female is still considered as some sort of investment “loss”. Just wow…

After he said that, Jessica chimed in with her thoughts, and it is interesting to note how she apologetically and almost fearfully adds a disclaimer to her statement, showing the culture of silence among women in Hollywood which has prevented them from speaking about this issue.

“Also I’d like to say, this is the first time I’m saying this and I’ll probably get in trouble, but as an actress you always feel like there’s a huge wage gap, and you always feel like you are never really getting paid what is fair. This is the first time I’ve done a movie where the director actually paid me what my agent and everyone said was fair. He went to bat for me,” she said referencing Guillermo’s actions.

Jorge asks to clarify whether men and women getting paid differently for playing equal parts is actually a thing, and Guillermo confirms this. He mentions another director, Alfonso Cuaron who directed and won an Oscar for ‘Gravity’, who was continually told to make the lead character a male astronaut, and he said “no”. He stood by his choice of Sandra Bullock because her character loses a child and he was adamant it would be a more believable storyline from a female character’s point of view.

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It’s clear that having men stand up in Hollywood, especially male directors, is going to be part of this change. Jessica talks about her love for Guillermo because he understands and believes in strong female characters, and his focus on diversity is something that is still lacking in the industry.

“I think it goes beyond female characters, I just think there’s a lack of diversity, period,” she said. Although she admits she has been lucky to play some awesome roles, she doesn’t think there are enough complex interesting female characters portrayed on screen.

“We’re half the population and yet we’re less than 10% of lead protagonists in Hollywood films. Across the board, the United States needs more diversity in the majority of our industries, and I think there’s a generation coming forward that is really demanding it,” she added.

Diversity is an issue that plays directly into the financial aspect of filmmaking, because the more audiences demand it, the more Hollywood will produce it, and the more money it will make. We also firmly believe the more diversity becomes a normal part of the filmmaking and financing process, the less the wage gap will be an issue.

Until then, here’s to the powerful women AND men talking about the wage gap in the hope of eliminating it altogether. You can watch the Fusion interview in the videos below:


 

 

 

 

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  1. Pingback: We List Our Top 10 Most Talked-About Headline News Topics On GTHQ In 2015 - GirlTalkHQ

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