Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem Paid Equally For ‘Everybody Knows,’ Signaling Change?

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Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem were both paid the same for their work in Everybody Knows, perhaps signaling some long-awaited progress on the gender pay gap in Hollywood, People is reporting.

The husband-and-wife pair is in Cannes to promote their Spanish-language thriller about a woman who returns to Spain to find her life upended by dark secrets. And when Cruz was asked if the two were paid the same for their work on the movie, she answered that yes. So indeed, they got the same paycheck.

That’s rare in the movie industry – that a leading man and a leading actress would get the same paycheck. In fact, as Vanity Fair reports, so extreme sometimes is the gender pay gap in Hollywood that insiders have been angling for change for years now.

Things came to a head in January of this year, when it was reported that Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were called back for reshoots for All the Money in the World. For his work, Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million; Williams was paid around $1,000.

Similarly, Wahlberg’s paycheck for the film, not counting reshoots, was $5 million, while Williams got a comparatively paltry $625,000.

To be fair, says Vanity Fair writer Yohana Desta, Wahlberg is known as a tough negotiator in the industry. But that belies another problem for women in Hollywood: strongly negotiating your salary, as a woman, can get you labeled as “difficult,” making it harder for you to get work.

That hasn’t stopped Ellen Pompeo – she’s one of the few women in the movie industry who isn’t afraid to angle for higher pay in negotiations.

It’s not just the movie industry with a pay-gap problem. Over on the small screen, it’s been reported that the two leads of the ABC comedy Black*ish, Tracy Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, aren’t getting nearly the same paychecks either – and you can probably guess which one is getting more money. Right now, the two leads are negotiating their salaries for the next season, and Ross has said that if she doesn’t get the same as her male co-star, she’ll appear in fewer episodes and make up the difference by guest appearances.

So is the situation changing? Slowly but surely, says Indie Wire. Movies with middle-aged white men in the lead are becoming “stale,” says writer Chris O’Falt, and the staggering success of Wonder Woman shows that a summer blockbuster can be carried by a female lead.