Emma Stone in La La Land

The issue of the gender pay disparity in Hollywood has been a hot-button issue in recent years. Women in Hollywood tend to get paid less than their male co-stars. However, Emma Stone has found a way to work around the issue. The Battle of the Sexes actress says that she's actually asked her male co-stars to take pay cuts on some of her films so that the two of them will have pay equity. This isn't simply a short term solution but a long term benefit to Stone because of the way Hollywood handles salary negotiations. According to Stone...

In my career so far, I've needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that's something they do for me because they feel it's what's right and fair. That's something that's also not discussed, necessarily---that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, 'That's what's fair.' If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life.

Hollywood works on a system of "quotes." This is essentially looking back at what actors have been paid in the past and then making the offers for new films based on that. As Emma Stone explains to Out, this means that it's important to her long-term success that producers of new films see that she has a history of being paid just as much as her male co-stars. Therefore, whatever the studio is planning to pay the male lead, they need to be ready to offer her as well. This is why having the male lead that was previously getting paid more take a cut is important.

And it's great to see that many men in Hollywood are willing to take this step. They see that it's the right thing to do and they're willing to take the hit to show that they know it's the right thing to do. The fact that it's apparently easier to get the actor to take the cut than it is to get the studio to give the raise they should is unfortunate, if unsurprising.

Of course, Emma Stone only asks the actors who are doing the equivalent work to take the cut. She makes it clear that she's not asking leading actors to take cuts to match what she would make in a supporting role. We're talking about equal pay for equal work.

Hopefully, more male co-stars will be willing to do this for more movies and the pay disparity between men and women can start to disappear for good.

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