Amid growing attention to pay inequality between actors and actresses of comparable positions, “House of Cards” star Robin Wright says she successfully demanded that producers pay her the same as fellow star Kevin Spacey.
“I was like, ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin,’ ” Wright, 50, told an audience Tuesday night at The Rockefeller Foundation, reported HuffingtonPost.com, a media partner in the foundation’s “Insight Dialogues” series. Wright, who plays manipulative first lady Claire Underwood opposite Spacey’s devious President Frank Underwood, said she “was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did.”
She explained: “It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in ‘House of Cards.’ ”
The Netflix show’s fourth season premiered in March. Forbes magazine estimates that for the previous season, in 2015, Wright earned $5.5 million, while Spacey, as early as Season 2, was making $16 million annually “mostly thanks to ‘House of Cards.’ ” That figure, however, includes Spacey’s salary as an executive producer, a title Wright was given just this year.
Wright, previously best known for known for her roles as Princess Buttercup in “The Princess Bride” and Jenny Curran in “Forrest Gump,” added that a salary factor affecting mostly women was taking time off to raise children.
“Because I wasn’t working full time, I wasn’t building my salary bracket,” she said. “If you don’t build that . . . with notoriety and presence, you’re not in the game anymore. You become a B-list actor. You’re not box-office material. You don’t hold the value you would have held if you had done four movies a year,” she said, “like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett did during the time I was raising my kids,” daughter Dylan, 25, and Hopper, 22, with ex-husband, Sean Penn.