Actress Susan Sarandon claims she once suffered an incident akin to the recent Mark Wahlberg/Michelle Williams salary disparity issue, wherein male colleagues were paid more for equal work.
In an interview with BBC 5 live, Sarandon said she discovered that Paul Newman and Gene Hackman, her two male co-stars on the 1998 film Twilight, were getting paid the same rate, but more than her. The Wahlberg/Williams incident also saw a disparity in the pay rates between the actor and actress for some reshoots.
In Sarandon’s case, Newman wouldn’t have it, and gave her part of his salary to make things equal. (Wahlberg donated his reshoot fee to the #TimesUp legal fund).
The Sarandon revelation came as part of an interview on her new project Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.
“Emma Stone once came forward and said she got equal pay, because her male stars insisted upon it and gave up something of theirs,” said Sarandon. “That happened to me with Paul Newman at one point, when I did a film with him ages ago. They said it was ‘favored nations’, but they only meant the two guys. He stepped forward and said, ‘Well, I’ll give you part of mine’. So, yeah, he was a gem.”
Favored nations is a clause which assures that actors are paid the same as their co-stars. The Twilight film gave Sarandon, Hackman and Newman equal billing on its poster, but only gave the favored nations clause to the two men.
Sarandon also spoke on the sexual harassment issue in Hollywood, stating there will “always be a casting couch.”
“I think what will go away is the unwanted exchange,” she said. “But I think that giving yourself sexually, or being drawn to power and wanting to have sex with someone that’s in power, is also a choice. What we don’t want to have is being exploited and have the Harvey Weinsteins of the world holding it over your head and holding it over your project. That is the most despicable.”