Like many women before her, Natalie Portman was shafted in pay when she co-starred alongside Ashton Kutcher in 2011’s No Strings Attached. According to the actress, who won an Academy Award that same year, her castmate was paid three times more than her for the romantic comedy.
“Ashton Kutcher was paid three times as much as me on No Strings Attached. I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,” Portman told Marie Claire U.K. “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.”
“Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar,” she added. “In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
Having experienced instances of gender inequality herself, Portman said she was determined that her upcoming film, On the Basis of Sex, would be directed by a woman. Playing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Portman thought there was no better way to advocate gender equality than by allowing female filmmakers to tell their story.
“I don’t think women and men are more or less capable [as directors], we just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities,” she said. “We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem. As this story is specifically about gender discrimination, I was like, ‘How dare we not hire a female.’”