Robin Wright addressed her pay on House of Cards during a Rockefeller Foundation event on Tuesday. Wright said that she had been consistently making less money than her co-star Kevin Spacey even though she played an equally strong role in the show. Wright had been talking in general about equal pay for women when she demanded that Netflix pay up.
Wright, 50, has been with the Netflix show for the last three seasons and has starred in every one of House of Cards’ 52 episodes, according to Entertainment Weekly. She plays conniving First Lady Claire Underwood while Kevin Spacey plays ruthless President Frank Underwood. Wright has also produced and directed several episodes of the popular show.
“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,” said Wright. “I 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.”
Kevin Spacey, who was reportedly making $500,000 an episode on House of Cards in 2014, was rumored to be getting a whopping raise of $1 million per episode. This would put Spacey at the top of the pay list of TV or streaming actors. Robin Wright has been making about $420,000 an episode, according to the Huffington Post.
Although Wright’s always been a strong character on the show, the fourth season of House of Cards is going even deeper into Wright’s character as she steps out on her own, plotting against her president/husband and making a name for herself in the political arena. This was the perfect time for Robin Wright to push back at Netflix and make them take notice.
It seems that Robin Wright is not the only one demanding equal pay among Hollywood starlets. Jennifer Lawrence got a lot of attention last year when she bristled over making less money than her male counterparts on American Hustle. Other actresses who have also joined in the push for equal pay include Meryl Streep and Patricia Arquette.
Robin Wright said her career took a backseat after her marriage to Sean Penn while she raised two children. Now, with her children grown, she’s back on the Hollywood circuit.
“Because I wasn’t working full time, I wasn’t building my salary bracket. 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,” Wright said. “You don’t hold the value you would have held if you had done four movies a year like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett did during the time I was raising my kids. Now I’m kind of on a comeback at 50 years old.”
Wright said she was proud of Netflix for featuring a show with a strong female lead.
“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.”
“Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it.”
In 2014, Robin Wright won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama. She’s the first woman to win a Golden Globe for a web television series.
There’s no doubt that the blonde bombshell is known for more than her good looks. Robin Wright is an advocate for stopping the destruction of the Congo and an honorary spokesperson for the Gordie Foundation, which raises awareness about substance abuse among young people.
Robin Wright will appear in the 2017 film Wonder Woman and is negotiating for the 2017 Blade Runner sequel.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]