Delpy said she was paid a tenth of her co-star Ethan Hawke’s salary in the 1995 sleeper hit. In the sequel “Before Sunset,” she was able to raise her pay to half of Hawke’s salary. For the final and third movie “Before Midnight,” she said she would not participate unless she was paid equally, a tactic that worked.
“It’s a very tough business, and it’s fine because I’m tough as hell, but it’s a cruel business,” she said to Variety about the film industry.
Delpy said reaching equal pay and raising the financing for movies was tough for female actors and directors, although she expressed hope that there is an improvement for the younger generation.
Richard Linklater, the director of the “Before” series, responded to Delpy’s Variety interview by releasing a statement acknowledging that the pay gap in Hollywood is a big issue. He defended himself by saying that Hawke was one of the biggest stars of his age and Delpy was still getting established in the US when the original movie was filming.
Big name actresses routinely get paid less than their male co-stars, though. Michelle Willams in reshoots for “All the Money in the World” in 2017 got paid 1% of Mark Walhberg’s salary, according to USA Today. Wahlberg played a supporting role while Williams was a lead.
When the Sony hack happened, Jennifer Lawrence discovered that she was paid less than her male co-stars for her 2013 movie “American Hustle.” She wrote a 2015 essay in Lenny Letter, the now-defunct feminist newsletter, talking about her own struggles with the gender pay gap.
In 2017, Natalie Portman told Marie Claire that Ashton Kutcher got paid three times more than her in the 2011 rom-com “No Strings Attached.” Natalie Portman said that she knew and she should have been angrier.
“Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar,” said Portman.