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Of all people, 'House of Cards' star Robin Wright had to fight for equal pay

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey, equals on and off the screen.

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Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey, equals on and off the screen.

Seriously with this? If Robin Wright has to fight for equal pay, what hope is there for the rest of us?

The House of Cards (and Princess Bride and Forrest Gump) megastar and also one of my personal idols demanded to be paid the same as co-star Kevin Spacey for her work as Claire Underwood on the Netflix hit.

“I was like, 'I want to be paid the same as Kevin,’” Wright said Tuesday at the Rockefeller Foundation, which was hosting the first event in a series called “Insight Dialogues.”

The 50-year-old produces and sometimes directs House of Cards, too, just FYI.

“It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in House of Cards,” Wright said.

“I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, 'You better pay me or I’m going to go public. And they did.”

According to the Huffington Post, Spacey was being paid $500,000 per episode in 2014 and rumor had it that number could spike to $1 million, which would make him one of the highest-paid TV or streaming actors.

Forbes reported last year that Wright had earned $5.5 million for the show. That comes to about $420,000 per episode.

Wright shared her story in response to a question about the barriers women in Hollywood face. She also mentioned how difficult it is to balance a career and motherhood.

Speaking of her time raising children with then-husband Sean Penn, Wright said, “Because I wasn’t working full time, I wasn’t building my salary bracket. If you don’t build that … with notoriety and presence, you’re not in the game anymore. You become a B-list actor. You’re not box office material.”

She added, “You don’t hold the value you would have held if you had done four movies a year like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett did during the time I was raising my kids. Now I’m kind of on a comeback at 50 years old.”

A major comeback at that.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2016 11:51am]


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