Jessica Chastain made sure Octavia Spencer got equal pay on their new film
Jessica Chastain just gave white feminists a lesson on allyship, because Octavia Spencer revealed that the Molly’s Game actress made sure the two got equal pay for their new film together.
At the “Women Breaking Barriers” panel at the Sundance Film Festival, Octavia Spencer said that a year-and-a-half ago, Jessica Chastain approached her to be in a comedy produced by the Zero Dark Thirty actress. The two friends were not only thrilled at the prospect of reuniting on-screen, but they were both looking to try something different — Chastain wanted to try her hand at comedy, and Spencer was looking to break out of period pieces. And in discussing pay for the project, and the pay disparity between men and women, Spencer explained to Chastain that the pay gap goes way deeper than she, as a white person, probably realized.
The Hidden Figures actress revealed that after explaining her own experience with pay disparity between women of color and white women to Chastain, the Interstellar actress led pay negotiations for the two with that in mind. And in the end, the pair not only made the same salary…
Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer made *five times* what they asked for.
Tearing up, Spencer praised her The Help co-star for putting her money where her mouth is, and leading the discussions to ensure Spencer was paid what she’s worth for their new film.
Check out the full panel:
Spencer’s story begins around the 19:30 mark.
As one of the most critically acclaimed actresses in Hollywood — Spencer already boasts one Academy Award, and became the first black actress to receive consecutive nominations in back-to-back years for Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water — it’s absurd that she is still being underpaid for her work. But we’re so happy to see that fellow actresses like Chastain are taking the time to understand their privilege, listen to their peers, and work to make pay equity a reality.