The latest hysterical headline to hit Facebook feeds read something like this: “Most Famous Actress in the World Michelle Williams Paid 1,500 Times Less than Chauvinist Pig Mark Wahlberg”. Of course, there was a major caveat that contradicted the leftist narrative.
But first, back to the beginning. The film “All the Money in the World” went through a week of hectic reshoots over Thanksgiving when director Ridley Scott decided to remove Kevin Spacey from the film after production had wrapped. With less than a month to go before its planned release, Christopher Plummer was cast as J. Paul Getty and the rest of the cast came back to film all of the character’s scenes all over again.
Mark Wahlberg was the highest paid actor in Hollywood in 2017
When he originally signed on to play Fletcher Chase, Mark Wahlberg reportedly took a significant pay cut. The star was the highest paid in all of Hollywood in 2017 taking in $68 million for the year, and commanding up to $15 million per film.
With an estimated production budget of $50 million for “All the Money in the World”, it’s highly unlikely that Wahlberg was paid anywhere near $15 million. Therefore, when the time came for reshoots, his agents successfully negotiated to recoup some of what Wahlberg had previously given up.
Without taking all of that into account, the fact that Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for ten days of reshoots may seem outrageous. But, considering that he was likely paid far below his usual rate initially, it’s much more understandable.
The pay gap between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg has nothing to do with the patriarchy
Now that it is understood why Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for reshoots, we can examine why Michelle Williams was only paid $1,000. Spoiler: it has nothing to do with sexism or the patriarchy.
Michelle Williams was not paid 0.07% of what Mark Wahlberg was paid because of some conspiracy. The actress simply decided to waive her fee because she wanted to make sure the film was completed:
“When this idea was hatched — that we were gonna go in and try to rewrite history — I was on the frontline,” Williams explained. “I was like, ‘You can have my salary, you can just take it, I don’t even do it… that’s not why I work. If that’ll help you, you can have it, you can have my break and you can have whatever and I’ll just be there waiting.'”
This was a voluntary decision. Michelle Williams could have had her agents attempt to negotiate a higher salary had she so chosen, but the money wasn’t important to her.
Unfortunately, thanks to biased reporting from nearly every news outlet in the country, the public likely believes the reason for the pay gap between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg is another example of sexism in the movie business. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The two stars were paid differently because their agents were instructed to make it so. If only that were as an exciting headline as: “Female Star Paid Less than Male Star Because of Sexism”.