Natalie Portman: Ashton Kutcher was paid three times more than me on No Strings Attached

The actor reveals the salary disparity for a romcom released the same year she won an Oscar for Black Swan

Natalie Portman, whose performance as Jackie Kennedy in a forthcoming film has many tipping her for repeat Oscar glory, has reignited the Hollywood gender pay gap controversy in a new interview.

Speaking to Marie Claire UK, Portman, 35, said her co-star in 2011 romcom No Strings Attached, was paid considerably more than her. “Ashton Kutcher was paid three times as much as me on No Strings Attached,” she told the magazine, ascribing the disparity to an inflated asking price for Kutcher, based on his projected worth.

“I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,” she continued. “His [quote] was three times higher than mine, so they said he should get three times more. I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy.”

Portman continued: “Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”

Portman’s sentiments about regretting her complicity in the deal echo those of Jennifer Lawrence. It was leaked emails revealing details of Lawrence’s raw deal in the movie American Hustle that first triggered a fresh wave of outrage over pay disparity in 2015.

Writing in October for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, Lawrence placed some blame on herself for failing to demand a fair wage. “I got mad at myself,” she wrote. “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early … I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled’.”

Lawrence’s successful negotiation of a $20m payday (£16.5m), compared to co-star Chris Pratt’s $12m, for their recent film Passengers, had been seen as a sign of improvement.

Other actors who disclosed details of unfair pay over the past 18 months include Jessica Chastain, Scarlett Johansson and Sienna Miller. Kate Winslet faced some backlash after suggesting such discussions were “vulgar” given the context of the huge sums involved.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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