Movies & TV

Benedict Cumberbatch Will Refuse Roles Where Female Co-Stars Are Paid Less

"If she's not paid the same as the men, I'm not doing it"
IMAGE By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Benedict Cumberbatch) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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Benedict Cumberbatch is putting his money where his mouth is in the pursuit of gender equality in filmmaking with a promise to reject projects where women don't earn the same.

In recent months it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg negotiated a further $1.5 million for reshoots on All The Money In The World while co-lead Michelle Williams worked for just an $80 per day. Similarly, Netflix has agreed to backpay Claire Foy £200,000after she earned substantially less than Matt Smith despite being the lead character in The Crown.

Cumberbatch, who is currently promoting his new series Patrick Melrose, has made his feelings about discrepancies in male and female actors wages clear in a new interview in Radio Times Magazine.

"Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism," he said. "Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: 'If she's not paid the same as the men, I'm not doing it.'"

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He went on reveal that he would be using his new production company, SunnyMarch, to create more female-focused dramas.

"I'm proud that [his partner] Adam [Ackland] and I are the only men in our production company; our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster."

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He added, "If it's centred around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female!"

His comments come after women rallied at Cannes Film Festival this weekend calling for gender equality in filmmaking. 82 women took to the red carpet to represent the 82 films by female directors that have been in contention for prizes since 1946, compared to 1,645 by male directors. The group are calling for 50:50 representation by the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.

Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise,” said Cate Blanchett, the president of the 2018 competition jury.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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