Hollywood’s gender pay gaps are interesting. On the one hand, they remain an example that for all its high-minded idealism, showbiz remains as trapped in the stone age as any industry when it comes to actual equity between men and women. On the other hand, we’re talking about a difference of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars for people who are already extravagantly wealthy, so it’s hard to feel too bad. But at the same time, some of these stories do provide us with examples for how to handle our own, much more measly pay gap crises.
Take, for example, Bryce Dallas Howard’s recent comments about her pay for the Jurassic World franchise. In 2018, Variety reported that Howard took home $2 million less than her co-star Chris Pratt did for dodging the same dinosaur jaws. Now, in a new interview with Insider, she reveals that it was quite a bit more than $2 million.
“The reports were so interesting because I was paid so much less than the reports even said, so much less,” Howard said, per Insider. “When I started negotiating for Jurassic [World], it was 2014, and it was a different world, and I was at a great disadvantage. And, unfortunately, you have to sign up for three movies and so your deals are set.”
So, again, $2 million-plus is a lot of money and an enormous pay gap, and that’s just a fact. But it’s also a fact that Howard is already a millionaire many times over and, as the daughter of one of Tinsel Town’s most famous sons, can absorb that kind of financial blow. Still, unquestionably, it is a real injustice. She knows it. And so does Pratt who, according to her, decided to do something about it.
“What I will say is that Chris and I have discussed it, and whenever there was an opportunity to move the needle on stuff that hadn’t been already negotiated, like a game or a ride, he literally told me, ‘You guys don’t even have to do anything. I’m gonna do all the negotiating. We’re gonna be paid the same and you don’t have to think about this, Bryce,’” Howard continued. “I love him so much for doing that. I really do, because I’ve been paid more for those kinds of things than I ever was for the movie.”
That’s the sort of willingness to stand up for co-workers is something more people in positions of privilege can and should be willing to do, and good on Pratt for recognizing that he had that kind of leverage. But women in Hollywood shouldn’t have to depend on their male co-stars to go to bat for them, and that’s true for women in any industry. Especially industries where the paychecks have a lot fewer zeroes, and the stakes are much higher. A-list celebrities may be dealing with very different sums than we are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a little something from how they handle those sums.