Jennifer Lawrence's $20 million fight for equal pay
In the wake of the Sony hacks last year, one of the many Sony secrets we learned was that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams made significantly less than their co-stars Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale on the film American Hustle. Even Jeremy Renner, who had a smaller part than the two leading ladies, made more on the film in the profit pool. Though we know that women are often paid less than men for equal (and sometimes greater) work, it was shocking to see this pay gap play out at the highest level. It was also particularly disappointing considering that Amy Pascal was the head of Sony at the time. It is a sad thing to realize that even with a woman in charge of the studio, this type of pay inequity still exists.
Well, now Jennifer Lawrence is taking a stand for pay equality. As The Hollywood Reporter reports, Lawrence is currently demanding $20 million for her next film Passengers, a love story set on a space ship, with Chris Pratt slated to play her love interest. Lawrence was originally expected to be paid that amount, according to the Hollywood Reporter, but things got complicated and suddenly Sony and salaries were being discussed. But Lawrence and her people held firm. On her current film, Joy, Lawrence is making $15 million but she demanded that $5 million raise for Passengers, according to THR.
Being paid $20 million puts Lawrence in a pretty exclusive club. Quite frankly, stars are usually only paid that amount on a huge franchise. The “$20 million club” as it’s sometimes referred to consists of stars like, Robert Downey Jr., Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, Denzel Washington and Matt Damon. And now, Jennifer Lawrence.
As for co-star Pratt, he’s slated to rake in $10 million. However, as Refinery 29 posits, Pratt’s quote could rise should his upcoming blockbuster Jurassic World do especially well at the box office.
Now, let’s real talk for a second. We are talking about CRAZY sums of money here and it’s very easy for us to go: “This is insane! What does this have to do with pay equality? J-Law is making so much money!” The thing is, she’s getting paid a CRAZY amount of money because she makes her studio a CRAZY amount of money. She was the most bankable star in American Hustle, both an Oscar winner and the lead in a billion-dollar franchise, and still she was paid less than her three male co-stars. This is about Lawrence asking to be paid what she’s worth, and even though I’m sure very few of us can imagine demanding $20 million for doing our jobs, if that is what the market dictates and what a man in our situation would be paid, then that’s the amount to ask for. It’s crucial for women in high-profile, high-paying positions, to make these demands because (and here’s the real secret) we’re all in this equal pay fight together.