It never fails. A man gets paid more money than a woman, and the immediate reaction of media vultures, feminists, leftists, and others comes in the form of blaming sexism. Hollywood, like the sports world, doesn’t operate on base salaries. Actors and actresses get paid based on the contracts their agents negotiate with the studio and producers making the film.
Similar to the sports world, some people have the clout to demand higher salaries, perks, and other contractual obligations. In Hollywood, Mark Wahlberg is one of those people. Whatever you think of his acting ability is irrelevant in light of the money he brings in. The last ten movies Wahlberg starred in, made $1 billion — domestically. Transformers: Age of Extinction made $1 billion on its own, worldwide.
That gives Wahlberg’s agents quite a bit of leverage in negotiations. Michelle Williams, while no doubt a very talented actress, doesn’t bring in the bucks at the box office. Williams may have received top billing for All The Money In The World, but the two-minute trailer prominently features Wahlberg right from the start.
The theory bandied about in the usual circles claims that Wahlberg got paid $1.5 million and Williams got a $1,000 per diem because of sexism.
Of course, as more information continues to come out, we learn the truth. The truth is not as exciting as the story of the downtrodden gifted actress forced to work for table scraps while her marginally talented co-star rakes in the cash because he has a penis. But the truth is almost always dull, thus the attempts at creating a more dramatic narrative.
From USA Today:
Mark Wahlberg refused to approve Christopher Plummer as a replacement for Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World unless he was paid over a million dollars for the reshoot, USA TODAY has learned.
Wahlberg had co-star approval in his contract, two people familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it tell USA TODAY.
“What he said was, ‘I will not approve Christopher Plummer unless you pay me.’ And that’s how he (expletive) them,” says one person.
Whether one approves of Wahlberg’s hardball tactics is not an issue. The bottom line is, he used his contract as a negotiating tool. Since he had co-star approval, he could hold up the reshoots until he was guaranteed a tidy sum of money for his time. People might argue that somebody who made $68 million last year doesn’t need that extra $1.5 million, but such observations are pointless. These moves are often made more in the interest of a display of clout.
Wahlberg has it. Williams does not. At least not now. That could change. If and when it does, however, I suspect we won’t be hearing howls of outrage if she manages to negotiate a better deal than one of her male co-stars. Then it will be chalked up to her being a “strong, independent woman.” The best part is, that would be true.
So people should stop casting her off as a weakling victim in this scenario. It was all about contracts, not sexism.