Emma Stone has some thoughts on Hollywood’s “insane” gender pay gap

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Moya Crockett
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Of all the Hollywood actresses we’d love to have a drink with, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence rank pretty highly. The two women are such close friends that Stone recently brought Lawrence as her date to a screening of her new film, La La Land, where Lawrence waxed lyrical about how she’s Stone’s “biggest fan”.

And now, Stone has joined Lawrence in calling for gender pay equality, stating: “We should all be treated fairly and paid fairly.”

“I’ve been lucky enough to have equal pay to my male co-stars,” Stone told Vogue in a recent interview, before correcting herself – because, as she rightly observes, being paid the same as a man for doing the same job shouldn’t be a matter of luck. “Not ‘lucky’. I’ve had pay equal to my male co-stars in the past few films.”

The Oscar-nominated star of films including Birdman and Crazy Stupid Love explained that she had previously felt uncomfortable talking about how much she was paid, because negotiating earnings in Hollywood requires understanding which stars are considered most “bankable” by film studio bosses.

“Our industry ebbs and flows in a way that’s like, ‘How much are you bringing into the box office?’ ‘How much are you the draw or is the other person the draw?’” she said.

“I felt uncomfortable talking to my agent or lawyer about it because I was like, ‘Do people want to see me as much as they want to see Steve Carell?’”

She added: “It’s a weird conversation to have because it’s trying to see oneself from the outside.”

Stone was discussing her upcoming movie Battle of the Sexes, in which she stars as legendary US tennis player and gender equality advocate Billie Jean King. In 1973, King beat retired male tennis champion Bobby Riggs in a nationally televised match, after the 55-year-old Riggs boasted that he could still beat any of the world’s top female tennis players.

Ultimately, Stone described the gender pay gap across the US – not just in Hollywood – as unacceptable. “What are we at [nationally]? Seventy-nine cents to the dollar?” she asked. “It’s insane. There’s no excuse for it anymore.”

As well as Jennifer Lawrence, Stone joins a growing chorus of actresses speaking out women’s wage equality. Earlier this month, Hilary Swank revealed that she was once offered 5% of a male co-star's salary despite the fact that she had won two Oscars and he “hadn’t had any kind of critical success”. 

In April, Emily Blunt told that she felt she had “a responsibility to fight for what my male equivalent would be earning”, and Robin Wright has also revealed how she had to campaign to be paid the same amount as her House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey. 

Patricia Arquette, meanwhile, has said that she lost work after using her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech at the 2015 Oscars to talk about the gender pay gap.

Battle of the Sexes, in which Stone's Crazy Stupid Love co-star Steve Carrell plays Bobby Riggs, is expected to hit cinemas in 2017.

Images: Rex, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.