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Octavia Spencer Explains How Jessica Chastain Helped Her Make Five Times Her Asking Salary

During a panel at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Octavia Spencer revealed that Jessica Chastain fought for her to make five times her asking salary on an upcoming film the two are doing together.

Spencer said that the two had been discussing doing a comedy together for over a year, and Chastain came to her in March with a project she was producing. When they started discussing pay for the film, “she was like, ‘It’s time that women get paid the same as men!’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, Jessica! It’s time!’ And we were dropping f-bombs and getting it all out there,” Spencer said. 

Spencer went on that she also brought up a larger issue to Chastain, that of women of color making far less than white women in the entertainment industry. “I told her my story and we talked numbers and [Chastain] was quiet, and she had no idea that that’s what it was like for women of color,” Spencer remembered.

Crying what she said were happy tears, Spencer said that Chastain promised they were going to be tied together, asking for the same pay and receiving the same amount for the film.

“Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for,” she said.

Jessica Chastain believes,” Spencer added. “She is walking the walk. And now I want to go to what the men are making, but right now it feels really good just be in that conversation.”

The two later continued the discussion online, with Chastain tweeting on Wednesday in response to the story, “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.”

Spencer also elaborated on her story on Twitter, posting “I should clarify that I am making 5x my salary because Jessica stood with me. I don’t know what or if it cost her anything as far as her rate, I just know she stood with me, and I am eternally grateful.”

In the wake of the Time’s Up movement, pay discrepancies in Hollywood have come under fire, particularly between men and women. Last month, it was revealed Mark Wahlberg made $1.5 million for “All the Money in the World” reshoots, while his co-star Michelle Williams made $1000. He went on to donate the salary from the reshoots to Time’s Up in Williams’ name.

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