Los Angeles (AFP, WP, NYTimes) - Hollywood is voicing its outrage at reports that Mark Wahlberg was paid 1,500 times more than Michelle Williams to reshoot the kidnap drama All The Money In The World.
After allegations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey came to light, director Ridley Scott replaced the embattled actor with Christopher Plummer, and got the cast back together again to reshoot pivotal scenes.
But it turns out Williams, billed as the lead actress, got paid way less than Wahlberg, a supporting actor. On Tuesday (Jan 9), USA Today reported some exact figures: Williams earned US$80 per diem, adding up to less than US$1,000, and less than 1 percent of the US$1.5 million Wahlberg earned. According to the outlet, Wahlberg's team negotiated the reshoot fee.
Reps for the movie studio Sony, the actors and the agency that represents both, William Morris Endeavor, did not comment.
Scott had previously told USA Today that the actors did the reshoots "for nothing" - meaning union minimums - and that he also didn't get paid.
The pay gap generated plenty of emotion, including among celebrities. Williams "has been in the industry for 20" years, actress Jessica Chastain tweeted. "She deserves more than 1 percent of her male co-star's salary."
"This is so messed up that it is almost hard to believe. Almost," director Judd Apatow tweeted. "This is how this business works."
Actress Mia Farrow said the disparity was "outrageously unfair", adding that she was "never, ever paid even a quarter of what the male lead received".
In August, Forbes magazine named Wahlberg the world's highest paid actor in 2017, earning an estimated US$68 million. Emma Stone, the highest paid actress, took home an estimated US$26 million.
The disclosure of specific salary details came just after Sunday's Golden Globes, which was a showcase for Time's Up, a new initiative to end sexual harassment and gender inequality in Hollywood and other industries.
Williams, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in All The Money In The World, walked the red carpet with Tarana Burke, senior director of the nonprofit Girls for Gender Equity and the founder of the #MeToo movement.
Most contracts with actors include a certain number of reshoot days as a routine stipulation. If additional filming is needed, actors will make themselves available - as their schedule allows - to clean up scenes. But Williams and Wahlberg, both of whom had agreed to appear in All The Money In The World for less than their standard fee, took different approaches to the reshoots, according to the people briefed on the matter.
Because of the circumstances, Williams quickly agreed to return. She ultimately worked over Thanksgiving, racing to London on an overnight flight after arranging for her 12-year-old daughter, Matilda, to spend the holiday without her.
"They could have my salary, they could have my holiday, whatever they wanted," she said of the production team at the time. "Because I appreciated so much that they were making this massive effort."
Although several actors with small parts, including Timothy Hutton, had agreed to return for reshoots for minimum pay, Wahlberg was not one of them, according to the people briefed on the negotiations. He asked his primary agent, Doug Lucterhand, to push for more money. (Williams is represented at William Morris Endeavor by Brent Morley.)
Wahlberg was already not thrilled to have worked for roughly 80 percent less than his standard fee, the people said, especially since overseas distributors were using his box office track record to promote the film.
Because Williams had already committed to return, Wahlberg had leverage over the production team: He was the only major missing piece, and the clock was ticking. The finished film was set to be released in theatres on Dec 25.
Imperative Entertainment, the company that produced and financed it, ultimately agreed to a $1.5 million payment.
Individual client contracts are not always discussed between agents who work at the same agency. It is possible that those representing Williams did not know about the deal that Wahlberg was able to secure. When inequitable pay has become an issue in Hollywood in the past, agents have defended themselves by pointing out that it is in their best interest to negotiate the biggest pay cheques possible for their clients, regardless of gender. Agents generally work for a 10 percent cut of the payments they secure.