Jessica Chastain’s fight for equal pay earned her and Octavia Spencer a rather significant pay raise.
Octavia revealed Wednesday that her “Help” co-star helped negotiate equal pay for her on their upcoming holiday comedy. Jessica made sure she bundled their salary which led to both women getting paid five times their original asking salary.
Spencer said at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s “Women Breaking Barriers” panel that Chastain approached her 15 months ago about doing a comedy together.
Six months later, Spencer said, they were talking about pay equity.
“I said, ‘But here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So, if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table,’” Spencer said.
“And I told her my story, and we talked numbers, and she was quiet, and she said she had no idea that that’s what it was like for women of color.”
Through tears, Spencer credited Chastain for “walking the walk” and “talking the talk.”
“She said, ‘You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing, you are going to make that amount,’” the actress said.
“Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”
Chastain and Spencer, who worked together on the 2011 “Help,” will reunite for a comedy about trying to get home for the holidays.
Chastain will co-write the script, which was picked up by Universal.
What Jessica did is truly what being an ally is all about. It’s one thing to hold up a sign or wear a black dress — but it’s another to actively work to make a difference.
She had been underpaid for so long. When I discovered that , I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) January 24, 2018