While attending the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, Spencer appeared on the Women Breaking Barriers panel and revealed how Chastain moved the conversation beyond social media and actually helped her get paid what she deserved.
Jessica Chastain has long been an advocate for equal pay in Hollywood and so when Octavia Spencer told her about the disadvantages women of color faced in this realm, she jumped in to help. It was while working on a holiday comedy that the two brilliant actresses ended up brokering a "favored nations" deal which got them paid five times their original asking salary.
While attending the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, Spencer appeared on the Women Breaking Barriers panel and revealed how Chastain moved the conversation beyond social media and actually helped her get paid what she deserved. "I have a story, and you guys are gonna be the first to hear it." According to the actress, her The Help co-star had approached her a little over a year ago about doing a film together.
jessica chastain and her date, octavia spencer at the golden globe awards 🥰🥰 pic.twitter.com/5qjuIFKp5U— allie (@tinychastain) April 16, 2022
"She wants to do comedies, and I wanna break out of period pieces," she continued according to Indie Wire. "I love ’em! They’ve been kind to me! But I kinda wanna play someone who resembles me in some fashion," added the 52-year-old. Then the topic of pay equity between men and women came up, per PEOPLE, and Spencer said, "We were dropping F-bombs and getting it all out there. And then 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.' 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," Spencer said before pausing briefly and assuring the crowds that she was experiencing "happy tears."
"I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk. She said, 'Octavia, we’re gonna get you paid on this film. You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.' Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for," she noted. "Now, I wanna go to what the men are making!"
This deal between Spencer and Chastain resulted in a bidding war in which Universal came out victorious after beating Fox and Paramount. "We’re just sitting there sipping coffee, going, ‘Oh my god! Women are in demand," said Spencer.
Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Tommaso Boddi