Emma Stone’s male co-stars take pay cut to even the gender score
“In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,” she told Out Magazine. “And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily: that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, ‘That’s what’s fair.’”
Stone (The Help, Birdman, La La Land) plays feminist Billie Jean King opposite Steve Carell’s chauvinistic Bobby Riggs. The two tennis players competed against one another in 1973, and King scored a landmark victory for herself and women everywhere.
During shooting Stone could not help but draw parallels between those two lead characters and the two recent U.S. presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump.
“We began shooting in the spring of 2016, when there was still a lot of hope in the air, and it was very interesting to see this guy – this narcissistic, self-focused, constantly-stirring-the-pot kind of guy – against this incredible, qualified woman, and at the same time be playing Billie Jean, with Steve playing Bobby Riggs,” she recounted.
As to the male co-stars that have taken pay cuts, Stone wouldn’t name names, but she’s happy to continue the pay gap conversation. There has, however, been some criticism that, while the male actors’ solidarity is positive, it will not improve the situation.
To contrast Stone’s claim of a “need” for parity, journalist Abigail Chandler points out, “When male actors take a pay cut in solidarity with their female co-stars, the studio is just winning twice – first when they underpaid the leading lady, and second when their male lead slashed his own salary.”