Sienna Miller is the cover feature in the new issue of Porter to promote her upcoming film Wander Darkly and she has given her most Show Your Work interview to date, just a few weeks after she revealed that Chadwick Boseman had given up some of his salary to meet her fee on 21 Bridges last year after the studio refused to pay her what she was asking for.
Those comments were for a retrospective on Chadwick, honouring and celebrating his life and legacy so she didn’t elaborate because the focus there was on him. Now that she’s the subject of the profile though, she’s saying a lot more about pay disparity– not just about her experience on that film but on previous projects and what she asks for now. And she gets specific in a way that hits on SO many levels and succinctly too. Here’s what she said, for example, when asked about the fee she insisted upon for 21 Bridges:
“…as the woman, you’re leant on so heavily for promotion in a way that men often aren’t. What you wear on a red carpet; how much press you have to do… They are going to get their money’s worth.”
Yes, exactly. They don’t talk enough about this. About how women are often the ones who create excitement and build anticipation for a film or a television series, even when they’re not in lead roles – and don’t think the studios and networks don’t know that, and don’t exploit it. More and more though, women are starting to list that as a tangible asset and, most importantly, MONETISE it.
On the press tour for American Sniper, Bradley Cooper was committed to being on Broadway so Sienna ended up doing more media than him, even though it was basically his movie. Sienna says she was “alarmingly underpaid” not just for being in the film but also for taking on so much of the publicity. They gave her a bonus for the press tour but it was a joke considering what that movie’s box office turned out to be. How did they sell that to her?
They made her feel “grateful”, of course. Grateful to be working with Clint Eastwood, grateful to be considered for such an opportunity, so grateful that they practically asked her to market the movie for free. Sienna knows better now.
How many red carpets? How many appearances? How many looks are we putting together? How much social media attention will those looks generate? Great. Now let’s calculate the cost per impression. Add it to the fee. On top of the acting. This is what more and more women in Hollywood are moving towards. And this, evidently, is what Sienna’s been doing, with the help of her “demon lawyer, who has educated her about her worth”. And the result? Sienna says she’s “hardcore” about her fee now. She is also hardcore about the fact that oftentimes, for women, the fee has so much more built into it than is taken into account, especially considering that fee standards are almost always set by their male counterparts:
"If you have to move location for filming – which men have to do, but more often than not their wives stay home with the kids – when you’re a single mother shooting, I have to bring my child, find a school, find childcare. Who pays for that? Why would I not be more compensated as a result for having to uproot my entire family in order to work? That’s a battle. Her father is amazing, I’m not saying I’m on my own, but as a working mother, I can’t be away from my kid.”
Nobody at the studio is questioning what Leonardo DiCaprio or Chris Evans need when they’re on location for rental homes for several months and security and drivers and whatever else they get with no argument. These are understood to be practical necessities. For women, childcare, school considerations, etc, these too are practical necessities – but because the industry, and all industries really, weren’t really built to meet the needs of women, these considerations hadn’t until recent history been assigned a value. Because men never appreciated the value! And this is why these conversations have to continue and continue in an open forum. Which is what Sienna is doing. She’s getting louder about it too.
Click here to read the full interview.