The world held its breath when Ridley Scott spectacularly decided to re-shoot all of Kevin Spacey’s scenes in All The Money In The World. The actor of course was facing allegations of decades of sexual assault. The decision to re-shoot and replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer was an expensive one; it was going to cost AUD $13.2 million – a quarter of the film’s budget. At the time, Michelle Williams who also starred in the film said “When they asked me to reshoot, I said: ‘Absolutely I will do it and if you need the salary back, I will give it to you.”
“I am angry for the people that [Spacey] hurt; I am angry on their behalf,” she continued. “A movie is less important than a human life, so they are who my heart goes out to because the tyranny of abuse is that it’s always about [the perpetrators]… But sometimes a brick hits you on the head and you are like, ‘Ow. That hurt,’ but I am glad that the thing is falling down.”
Williams’ co-star Mark Wahlberg demanded $2 million to re-shoot, money he later donated to charity. Williams made less than $1000 for her time, a sure-fire sign of her values – and 0.4 per cent of that of Wahlberg’s. Fellow actress Jessica Chastain tweeted her disdain at the disparity at the time.
“I heard for the reshoot [Williams] got $80 a day compared to [Wahlberg’s] millions,” Chastain tweeted. “Would anyone like to clarify? I really hope that with everything coming to light, she was paid fairly. She’s a brilliant actress and is wonderful in the film.”
At a rally on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the actress said she now is finally getting paid equally to her male co-stars and is getting handshakes, instead of creepy hugs. The 30-year-old spoke alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “Equal Pay Day” – a day in the states dedicated to women earning as much as men in the same role. On the soapbox, she addressed the All The Money In The World pay saga. “Guess what? No one cared. This came as no surprise to me,” Williams recalled. “It simply reinforced my life long belief that equality is not an inalienable right. And that women would always be working just as hard for less money while shouldering more responsibility in their homes,” she said. “If it’s this way for me — a white woman in a glamorised — how were my sisters suffering across their professions?”
Williams did say, however, that things were looking up.
“Rather than being grasped too tightly or hugged for too long at the morning meeting my hand was shaken and I was looked squarely in the eye as I was welcome to my Monday morning,” Williams said. “I realised this is actually what it feels like to be on the inside, to be one of the boys. And on the job I completed two weeks ago – let me tell you something – I was paid equally as my male co-stars.”