Actress Susan Sarandon is candidly opening up about her own experiences with Hollywood’s gender pay gap. In a new interview, the 71-year-old film icon revealed her co-star Paul Newman once gave her part of his salary to ensure there was equal pay for all actors in their 1998 film Twilight.
“Emma Stone came forward and said she got equal pay because her male stars insisted upon it and gave up something of theirs,” Susan told BBC Radio 5, referring to Emma’s 2017 gender pay gap confession to Variety. “That happened to me with Paul Newman at one point when I did a film with him ages ago.”
Paul and Susan in Twilight.
“When [the filmmakers] said it was ‘favored nations’ — but they only meant the two guys — he stepped forward and said, ‘Well, I’ll give you part of mine,'” she continued before adding, “He was a gem.” According to the official SAG-AFTRA website, the term “favored nations” means that performers “are getting equal contractual treatment to others on the project — billing, accommodations, and any other contractual provision.”
“It makes everything more interesting to raise the stakes all around and to have a more diverse cast and to have other points of view,” Susan continued. “I think anybody that’s with half a brain understands that.” Twilight — which also starred Gene Hackman, Reese Witherspoon, Liev Schreiber, and Giancarlo Esposito — was the only film Susan and the late Paul appeared in together. Paul sadly passed away at age 83 in September 2008 after battling lung cancer.
Hollywood’s gender pay gap has been a hot topic lately with many actresses having recently spoken out about the monetary disparities they’ve experienced while working on movies and TV shows. Late last year, E! News star Catt Sadler made major headlines when she unexpectedly quit her job after learning her co-host Jason Kennedy was earning “double” her salary at the network. “An executive from E! brought something alarming to my attention — namely, that there was a massive disparity in pay between my similarly situated male co-host and myself,” she revealed.
“More recently, when E! reached out to renew and extend my deal, I learned that he wasn’t just making a little more than I was. In fact, he was making close to double my salary for the past several years,” Catt continued. “Information is power. Or it should be. We are living in a new era. The gender pay gap is shrinking, although admittedly we have a long way to go. And well, I learned this first hand. My team and I asked for what I know I deserve and were denied repeatedly.”