Lawrence defends co-star DiCaprio's higher pay in Don't Look Up

LOS ANGELES • Actress Jennifer Lawrence has defended co-star Leonardo DiCaprio's higher pay in upcoming disaster-comedy Don't Look Up, even though they have equal billing.

In the December issue of Vanity Fair magazine, she said: "Leo brings in more box office than I do. I'm extremely fortunate and happy with my deal."

She allegedly will receive US$25 million (S$34 million), US$5 million less than DiCaprio, according to a Variety report in August on the pay cheques of top Hollywood actors.

Lawrence, 31, added: "But in other situations, what I have seen - and I'm sure other women in the workforce have seen as well - is that it's extremely uncomfortable to inquire about equal pay.

"And if you do question something that appears unequal, you're told it's not gender disparity, but they can't tell you what exactly it is."

Don't Look Up, one of the biggest and most expensive Netflix movies to date, has a star-studded cast including Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Ariana Grande, but it is Lawrence and DiCaprio who have top billing.

Lawrence plays an astronomy student, while DiCaprio plays her professor, and the two characters have to go on a media tour to stop an approaching comet that will destroy humanity. Don't Look Up will be released in theatres in certain countries as well as on Netflix next month.

The outspoken actress, who is pregnant and has kept a low profile for the past couple of years, had previously criticised Hollywood's gender pay gap.

In a 2015 essay in Lenny Letter, a newsletter by actress-writer Lena Dunham, Lawrence revealed she "got mad" when she realised she was paid considerably less than her male co-stars, even though she was the world's highest-paid actress in 2015 and 2016.

Referring to her roles in the X-Men movies (2011 to 2019) and The Hunger Games series (2012 to 2015), she said: "I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn't want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don't need."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2021, with the headline 'Lawrence defends co-star DiCaprio's higher pay in Don't Look Up'. Subscribe