We’ve suffered two immense losses over the past month: actor Chadwick Boseman and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – two very different people on very different paths but with the same mission: equality for all.
While Ginsburg had been publicly battling cancer for years, Boseman’s death aged 43 was completely unexpected: the actor had managed to hide his four-year battle from the world. Upon the news of his death, people everywhere paid tribute to the Black Panther actor, including former US President Barack Obama and Martin Luther King III. The outpourings of grief showed just how much of an impact Boseman had had on the world, showing young Black children that they too can be superheroes and fighting for racial justice on both the big screen and in real life.
Now, Sienna Miller has added her story to the rest, revealing that behind the scenes Boseman was an ally to women, too. When Miller was asked to work alongside Boseman on the 2019 film 21 Bridges, Boseman took a pay cut to make sure that Miller compensated fairly for her work in an industry that’s notorious for paying men more than women.
“I didn’t know whether or not to tell this story, and I haven’t yet,” Miller noted in a recent Empire Magazine interview. “But I am going to tell it, because I think it’s a testament to who he was.”
“Everybody understands about the pay disparity in Hollywood,” Miller continued, saying that despite the fact that the film was “big budget,” she had asked for a number that the studio wouldn’t agree to.
Boseman, who was both acting and producing the project, had actively chased Miller to play the role of Detective Frankie Burns, but as soon as she told him that she’d only agree to the role if she was appropriately compensated for it, he immediately agreed to cut his own salary to make up hers.
“I was hesitant to go back to work,” she said, noting that her daughter was starting school and she wanted to be around to be with her family, so she told the team that she would only take the role, “if I’m compensated in the right way.’”
That’s where Boseman came in, cutting his pay without any fuss so that Miller would get what she deserved.
“It was about the most astounding thing that I’ve experienced,” she said. “That kind of thing just doesn’t happen. He said, ‘You’re getting paid what you deserve, and what you’re worth.’ It’s just unfathomable to imagine another man in that town behaving that graciously or respectfully.”
Miller said that since the experience, she’s told numerous other “male actor friends” the story to which they, “all go very very quiet and go home and probably have to sit and think about things for a while.”
Hollywood men – actually, men in general – please take note.