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How Michelle Williams’ life changed after speaking out about Hollywood’s depressing pay gap

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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After she realised the glaring wage gap between her and co-star Mark Wahlberg in All The Money In The World, Michelle Williams spoke out about the injustice in the system in Hollywood. Now, in a new interview, the actor has revealed how her life has changed since then. 

For Michelle Williams, there is a time before late 2017 and a time after it.

2017 was when she starred in All The Money In The World, Ridley Scott’s taut thriller about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. By late 2017 the film was mired in controversy after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against its star Kevin Spacey. Scott leapt into action, recasting Spacey’s role with Christopher Plummer and engaging in a whirlwind few weeks of reshoots in order to fully erase Spacey’s presence from the film. Co-stars Williams and Mark Wahlberg were called back onto set to re-shoot their scenes opposite Plummer.

Williams, who so thoroughly believed in the importance of erasing Spacey from the film, offered to work for the union-sanctioned per diem of $100 a day. Wahlberg, on the other hand, asked for 1000 times what she requested and was paid $1.5 million for the reshoot.

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When this fact became public knowledge, it caused an outcry around the world, not only because Wahlberg used this difficult situation to negotiate a massive pay day for himself, but that Williams was put in the position where she was not paid commensurate to her male co-star for her work. 

Since then, Williams has become a vocal and outspoken figure in the battle for equal pay, using her shocking experience as leverage to kickstart conversations about the wage gap.

Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams
Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Williams said that speaking out on the subject of equal pay has completely transformed her life.

“As far as anything that’s happened in my life publicly it’s the most exciting and the most important thing that I’ve ever been involved in,” Williams said.

“I’m so moved, personally and professionally, to have found my place in the conversation and my voice through the conversation,” she added. “[I] feel like I’ve grown up inside of the conversation. It’s the thing that I’ll feel the closest to, more than any work that I’ve ever done, if I can just incrementally move the needle for other women.” 

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The actor also mused on how film sets have changed since she began speaking up about the wage gap.

“I feel like the dynamic… has changed,” she said. “They don’t hug you anymore. You don’t get a morning grope, you get a morning handshake… I feel like more space has opened up in the room, in the actual creative process. The space has opened up for me to be able to be heard.”

And, through Williams’ work, for many other women to be heard, too. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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