When it comes to celebrities and the term “Wolf Pack”, Leonardo DiCaprio comes to mind. Men come to mind. Women weren’t considered wolves. Are we sure about that?
As I mentioned yesterday in my post about Michelle Williams’s marriage revelation in Vanity Fair, there is so much more in this profile to unpack. So much more WORK. And yes, if we weren’t in hiatus on the Show Your Work podcast right now, we would 100% be talking about this interview and all the great work that Michelle gives us in this interview. We may still do that, in a couple of weeks, because we are planning a bonus one-off episode of Show Your Work around the release of Crazy Rich Asians but for now, there are some things that can’t wait. What Michelle has told us is too urgent to hold back.
Also… I kinda want to brag, sorry. So why don’t we start there? Because that’s what will get us to this new Wolf Pack.
In January, when all of Hollywood was talking about how much money Mark Wahlberg made and how little money Michelle Williams made on the All the Money in the World reshoots, I had a theory, a conspiracy theory, about how the information came out. Which we talked about on this episode of Show Your Work and which I briefly wrote about in this post about her now bogus engagement to Andrew Youmans. I suggested that Michelle was the one who leaked it. And it turns out, I was right. She did. But it was actually Jessica Chastain’s idea. Jessica asked Michelle after the Golden Globes if she could put out the lure, tweeting that she’d heard just how much more Mark made compared to Michelle. The following day, USA Today broke the story with specific figures. Basically he got $1.5 million and she walked away with per diem. Time’s Up had just been launched. They all showed up in formation in black at the Golden Globes. It was the perfect timing. And the story went nuclear.
THIS IS WHAT WE CAN DO.
THIS IS THE NEW WOLF PACK.
For (Michelle Williams), what resonates from the experience is the power generated by women banding together. “I was one woman by myself,” she says, “and I couldn’t do anything about it. But in the wolf pack—the phrase Abby Wambach uses—things are possible. And that’s really what it took: somebody who was at the head of the pack, Jessica Chastain, pulling me up with her, and then all these other women surrounding me, teaching me.” Says Chastain, “No one should have to step out onto a limb on their own. We are all here to share the weight. It’s easy to label one actress difficult, harder to label a group.”
If this were a movie, the music would be swelling up and your chest would be full and your fist would be making its way up in the air and it would start pumping by itself.
But there’s more. Michelle isn’t here to just call it a victory and not walk us through all the training required to make it happen. She also details what went down after the USA Today story broke. She talks about the phone calls between her and her agency, WME, the same agency that represents Marky Mark. SHE TELLS US ABOUT THE NEGOTIATIONS. She confirms that she was part of the end resolution, that she insisted on being part of the solution, and that she leaned on her peers and the experts on how to most effectively be heard in those discussions.
This is what we’ve come back to time and again on this blog and on Show Your Work – change happens through communication, conversation, and sharing. These women were talking to each other. These women were telling each other things they thought they weren’t supposed to tell each other. And in doing so they found that the information exchanged was making them better.
You know who wasn’t talking though?
Wahlberg made the donation on his own, Williams says; she never spoke to him about it. (When I ask Wahlberg for comment, one of his managers, Sarah Lum, e-mails: “I don’t think any of us want to talk about that ever again. ;) ”)
So we just established the benefits of talking and confronting and talking some more, for the sake of moving forward, and we find out that Mark Wahlberg doesn’t want to talk about it. That he and Michelle never spoke about it. She could have reached out to him…sure. But it was also, as she calls it, her “private humiliation”. So the guy who’s always stomping around running his mouth about what a badass he is and that he could have stopped a terrorist attack can’t be bothered call up his colleague and work through together how to get over this kind of inequality? That was an opportunity for Mark Wahlberg to show his work. And character.