By now, you've seen Don't Look Up. I make that assumption with confidence because according to Netflix's data, it's the second most watched film they've ever produced behind only Red Notice, with 359 million viewing hours as of a few months ago.
And you can see why. It was well received by the public, with a 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes (as opposed to just a 56% by critics, but oh, well). Written and directed by Adam McKay, as he marches further into the Serious Filmmaker Addressing Weighty Topics portion of his career. A phase some say began with The Big Short, but I think started with Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. (There was a lot of poignant, social-political subtext in those scenes with Walker and Texas Ranger.) It's loaded with commentary on the major themes of our times, from science to politics, media to celebrity culture. Plus it has perhaps the most star-studded casts in any direct-to-streaming movie to date. So it's little wonder why it drew so many eyeballs, as well as discussion.
And nine months after Don't Look Up was released, one of the co-stars has been doing a lot of discussing in her own right. Jennifer Lawrence did a cover interview with Vogue, where she has said among other things that she used to be Republican like her family in Kentucky, until she heard something Tina Fey's Liz Lemon said on 30 Rock that made her switch parties. And now she argues with her family about politics via texts and has nightmares about Tucker Carlson. Or something.
But that's not why you and I are here. I'm blogging and you're clicking because the word "vagina" is in the headline. So without further preamble, let's get to it:
Source - Jennifer Lawrence has discussed her frustration at being paid $5million less than her Don't Look Up co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. ...
According to Variety, Leonardo, 47, was paid $30million for the film while Jennifer, 32, was reportedly paid $25million - despite being the top billed star.
In an interview with Vogue for the magazine's October issue, Jennifer described the pay gap between the stars as 'bothersome'.
She said: 'It doesn't matter how much I do. I'm still not going to get paid as much as that guy, because of my vagina?' ...
During the infamous Sony hack in 2014, it was revealed Jennifer and Amy Adams were paid less than Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale for American Hustle.
When the disparity emerged, Jennifer wrote an essay discussing the pay gap, saying: 'When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with d**ks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself.'
Yeah, about that. Now a cynical person, who is not a Jennifer Lawrence fan as I am, might go right for the snark and retort that it's her lady parts that get her paid $25 million. That she wouldn't be landing the roles she does, such as the very NSFW performance she gave in Red Sparrow, if she was every bit the actress she is now, but looked like Danny DeVito. But that's not me.
Instead, I'll just agree with what she said. In 2014. Not this ragtime. When a person believes they're not being paid what they're worth, the only proper response is to demand more money. Or be willing to walk away from the table. "Fairness" doesn't enter into it. That's a concept for kids sharing toys at a day care center, not people negotiating contracts. Whether you're talking about the price of a house, a car, or your services playing a fictional character, emoting while reading words somebody else wrote, what you're selling is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it. Not some other amount.
If an actress - and I can't believe I'm about to use this word so I'll emphasize it - settled for a measly $25 million for a few months work, that's the fault of no one but her and the people she pays to represent her. If she wasn't willing to demand it during the contract talks with Netflix, why would we listen to her complaining to a magazine a year later? Then she's just your spouse who comes home bellyaching about a co-worker and when you ask whether they confronted the person says they didn't because it wouldn't do any good. So why bother us with your gripes if you won't speak up for yourself?
But the larger point is, Hollywood loves to present itself as the most enlightened, forward-thinking, and progressive industry in America. A shining city on a hill that all us normies need to follow if we're ever going to usher in a utopia like the one they've created. And yet, they have a gender wage gap. Rampant sexual harassment and predators. Massive carbon footprints from flying private jets to their mulitple mansions. Charges of -isms and -phobias all over the place that would get denounced in every Oscar acceptance speech if it were any other business. But still, they remain smug and self-satisfied about how they're saving humanity, even while one of their biggest female stars is getting paid 83.3% of one of their biggest male stars.
Maybe it's just me, but I'd be appalled if I found out my insurance company, grocery store or favorite restaurant was ripping off half their employees just because they have vaginas. I'd expect them to talk to their bosses about it, and support them if they did. Though granted, I'd worry about it a little less if the lady at Trader Joe's was pulling $25 million to run the register.
Regardless, perhaps the thing for any other entertainer who feels like they're being discriminated against is to negotiate better deals. And not cash the check then complain to America about how unfairly they're being treated. Especially in the middle of a crippling recession. The Jennifer Lawrence I know would fight back, not just gripe about how bad she has it.