'I'd be paid more if I was Oliver,' says Olivia Colman as she slams Hollywood gender pay gap

25 March 2024, 12:52

Olivia Colman has hit out at the Hollywood gender pay gap
Olivia Colman has hit out at the Hollywood gender pay gap. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

Olivia Colman has said she would be paid "a lot more" for her films if she was a man.

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The Oscar-winning British actress said she actually knew of one production where there was a 12,000 per cent difference in pay between a male and female actor.

Dismissing suggestions that the gulf is justified because male actors attract bigger audiences than their female counterparts, the 50-year-old said:

“Don’t get me started on the pay disparity, but male actors get paid more because they used to say they drew in the audiences.

“And actually, that hasn’t been true for decades but they still like to use that as a reason to not pay women as much as their male counterparts."

Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her lead role in The Favourite
Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her lead role in The Favourite. Picture: Alamy

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She told CNN’s The Amanpour Hour: “I’m very aware that if I was Oliver Colman, I would be earning a f*** of a lot more than I am. I know of one pay disparity, which is a 12,000 per cent difference.”

When Claire Foy portrayed a young Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, she was paid less than Matt Smith who portrayed the Duke of Edinburgh.

Producers justified the gap by arguing that Smith had a higher profile after starring in BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who. Foy was reportedly paid an additional $200,000 (£158,000) to make amends.

However, the position was reversed when Colman succeeded Foy and Tobias Menzies replaced Smith as the Duke of Edinburgh as Netflix producers said that in future no-one should be better paid than the Queen.

Colman, who won an Oscar for her lead role in The Favourite, complained about the pay gap as she promoted her new film Wicked Little Letters, which tells the story of a poison pen letters scandal in Littlehampton, West Sussex, in the 1920s.

Other Hollywood stars who have voiced support of closing the gender pay gap include Emma Stone, Taraji P Henson and Jennifer Hudson.

Lawrence was reportedly paid $25m for her lead role in Netflix comedy Don’t Look Up, compared to the $30m earned by co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 2016 Robin Wright, who starred opposite Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, won a pay rise after threatening to expose the difference in their salaries.

More spectacularly, Patricia Arquette raised the issue onstage at the 2015 Oscars ceremony. She later claimed that she lost roles as a result of her speech.

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