Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

“The first thing I'd teach a girl of mine is the words ‘f*** off’” Helen Mirren and Hollywood's leading stars discuss the gender pay gap


Every year, Hollywood's leading actresses come together to discuss the issues of the moment.

Naturally, this year's hot topic is the gender pay gap after April's Sony hacking scandal revealed that American Hustle stars, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, were paid less than their male co-stars. 

Sitting around The Hollywood Reporter's round table on Saturday, Helen Mirren, 70, Cate Blanchett, 46, and Jennifer Lawrence, 25, spoke of how the unequal salaries between men and women is a challenge all industries face, and is not one limited to the film business.

They were joined by Kate Winslet, 40, Carey Mulligan, 30, Jane Fonda, 77, Brie Larson, 26, and Charlotte Rampling, 69, who contributed to discussions on the difficulties of acting - such as loneliness - and how they film those awkward sex scenes...

Take a look at our highlights from the discussion below. 

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence in 2013's American Hustle

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence in 2013's American Hustle

On the gender pay gap...

Lawrence: (Speaking about the reaction to her open letter on the issue) There's always a backlash in everything that you do, but it's not going to stop or change anything. And it's not only an issue in Hollywood. When you're asking about roles for men and women, men certainly have a longer shelf life. Men can play the sexy lead for 20 years longer than we can —

Blanchett: It's lazy thinking across all industries. We're at the pointy and probably the most public end, but in what industry do women receive equal pay for equal work? I can't think of any.

Lawrence: Across all fields, women are generally paid 21 percent less than men.

Mirren: I love the way you wrote about it because you wrote about it very simply and personally. I so recognized that thing you said about, "I didn't want to be an asshole," you know? I want to be polite. We've got to stop being polite. If I ever had children, which I don't, the first thing I'd teach a girl of mine is the words "f— off."

On filming nude and sex scenes...

Lawrence: I had my first real sex scene a couple weeks ago [while shooting Passengers with Chris Pratt], and it was really bizarre. It was really weird.

Blanchett: When you say "real" sex scene, do you mean penetration or…? 

Lawrence: No, no. Thank you for clarifying. It was weird. And everything was done right; nobody did anything wrong. It's just a bizarre experience.

Interviewer: How do you prepare for that?

Lawrence: You drink. I got really, really drunk. But then that led to more anxiety when I got home because I was like, "What have I done? I don't know." And he was married. And it was going to be my first time kissing a married man, and guilt is the worst feeling in your stomach. And I knew it was my job, but I couldn't tell my stomach that. So I called my mom, and I was like, "Will you just tell me it's OK?" It was just very vulnerable.  And you don't know what's too much. You want to do it real, you want everything to be real, but then … That was the most vulnerable I've ever been.

Mulligan: There's always the things that you think are going to be tough. I've been nude once, and I was like, "Oh, that's going to be a nightmare," and actually that was fine. It's kind of, "F— it, now I'm naked and everyone else isn't. This is hilarious."

The Hollywood Reporter's round table panel for 2015

The Hollywood Reporter's round table panel for 2015

On the loneliness of acting...

Kate Winslet: It can be lonely, actually, especially when you're younger. I remember those moments of going, "Wow, I'm doing this by myself." And what's interesting is: Who do you act for? I remember being asked that in a room with lots of really scary people, like Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi. And everyone said a parent. Every single person.

Blanchett: As a way of seeking approval? It's that whole thing, isn't it, that actors want to be liked? And that doesn't interest me at all. What I love about the theater is that you know who you're acting for: your audience. And the thing I find really hard in film is, you don't. The audience is invisible. And we're sitting there, hoping there's other people out there.

Lawrence: I really act for myself. I really love it. I don't think there's a way that you could handle these schedules, all of the actual work that goes into it, if you don't really, really love it.

Fonda: I never wanted to be an actor. My dad was an actor, and he never brought joy home, so I didn't view it as something that I would want to do. But I got fired as a secretary, and then I started studying, and Lee Strasberg said I was talented, so I started doing it just to earn money. And it took me a long time to learn to love it.

The Hollywood Reporter's latest cover

The actresses of the round table front The Hollywood Reporter's latest cover

Read an extended highlights of the interview at hollywoodreporter.com

Images: Rex Features, The Hollywood Reporter



Sienna Miller quits play over gender pay gap dispute


Read Jennifer Lawrence's call to arms on the gender pay gap


Sandra Bullock on the moment she discovered sexism in Hollywood


Bradley Cooper speaks out against the gender pay gap


The politics of being a woman

jennifer lawrence highest paid actress stylist.co.uk.jpg

Gender pay gap scandal: yet more bad news from Hollywood


“It's shitty men are paid more for doing the same thing”


87% of British women experience sexism at work, says Stylist study

Meryl Streep and Romola Garai on sexism.jpg

Hollywood stars launch joint attack on sexism in the film industry



Pussy Riot’s new single is pro-vaginas and anti-Trump

“The idea of powerful female sexuality is much bigger than any populist megalomaniac man.”

by Moya Crockett
27 Oct 2016

Mamma Mia! ABBA confirm plans to reunite for “live experience” in 2018

All four of the original Dancing Queens are on board

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Gisele's bucket list adventures to Victoria Beckham's night out

by Nicola Colyer
27 Oct 2016

Bake Off’s Mary Berry on her TV reunion with Mel and Sue

The future for these GBBO stars is very bright indeed…

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

Lady Gaga fans, the full Carpool Karaoke video is beyond incredible

James Corden’s face says it all, really

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

Sorry Mel C, Little Mix don't want you to be their mum

You can be ours though

by Anna Pollitt
26 Oct 2016

This Instagram star's honest selfie has gone viral

A glimpse behind the filtered curtain

by Amy Swales
26 Oct 2016

The Alexander McQueen biopic just cast the perfect Hollywood star

Another British bad boy.

by Moya Crockett
26 Oct 2016

Jennifer Garner opens up on co-parenting with ex-husband Ben Affleck

The pair try to teach their children the importance of charity

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Oct 2016

Life advice from Helen Mirren, “the nastiest of nasty women”

Ignore those who judge by appearances, don’t rush into marriage, and only drink on days ending in 'Y'.

by Moya Crockett
26 Oct 2016