IT WAS quite an astonishing statement, at least for civilians outside the artistic community to hear Maggie Gyllenhaal say, “recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55,” which was initially reported by The Wrap. The same week at Cannes, women were denied access to the red carpet, in what became “flatgate,” for not wearing heels, with a strict “formal dress” rule on the red carpet interpreted to mean high heels only.
Speaking at one of the festival’s “Women in Motion” talks, [festival director Thierry] Fremaux apologized for the controversy, saying that it was “bullsh*t” and blasting the much-discussed unwritten dress code. “There is a rumor that the festival obliges women to wear heels,” he said. “It’s a rumor, it’s not true.” [THR]
What Frances McDormand is talking about makes a mockery of “flatgate” and is the bookend to what Maggie Gyllenhaal recently experienced. Equal pay, not just for one film, but equal to that of male actors.
Earlier in the conversation, when one audience member cited Meryl Streep as an actress that can command a male-sized salary, McDormand countered: “I doubt that she has ever been paid commensurately with the male movie stars she’s worked with.” She also noted that as an actor, she has received her going quote only once, on Transformers 3, and even that was less than a male actor of similar status’ rate.
“I worked very hard for that money, I’m very proud of my work. I’m glad I did that film and I’m proud that I finally got paid what I was told I was worth by the industry,” she said. “But that is nothing. That is a tenth of what most males my age, with my experience and my reputation as a film actor make. We’ve never been paid commensurately and that has to change.”
Young female movie stars such as Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley, who head up big action franchises, do have earning power but she believes it’s temporary and still unequal.
“For a short period of time, but never for as long as most male movie stars,” she said, differentiating between a handful of big “movie stars” and working actors.
Retribution for being honest about how you’re being treated, professional and economically, quid pro quo for jobs that include sexual favors, is something women have experienced for over a century. Way down the food chain when I was performing, from Broadway to L.A., my experience was similar, from agents and managers to producers. Talking about it may seem small, but it’s the beginning of changing the industry’s perverted norms.
Robert DeNiro recently got honest with NYU art student graduates. Congratulations, graduates, and “You’re f—–.”
That goes double if you’re a woman, especially as you age.