Nia Long Has Some Blunt Thoughts About Women's Pay In Hollywood

Nia Long in Empire 2016

Nia Long most recently has been tearing up our screens on TV, with big gigs on NCIS: Los Angeles and Empire, but the actress has had a bustling career for three decades on both TV and film. She says it hasn't always been easy, however. During a recent interview, the actress revealed that her work on film has not always gone swimmingly, as there were times when she says she appeared in films where she was "paid peanuts" while her male co-stars saw hefty paychecks for their work. She sums up that thought, noting,

I've watched a lot of men get rich off of the films that I've done and I was being paid peanuts. And when I requested or wanted more, I was considered difficult, outspoken, entitled and all of the things that should not be used to describe a woman who has earned her space, her place and delivers. And that just doesn't apply to me, that's for everyone.

For Nia Long, it's been a long, hard road to steady gigs and equal paychecks. The actress appeared in some big name films earlier in her career, including Boyz n the Hood, Soul Food, The Best Man and Big Momma's House, among others. Now, she says that she saw her male co-stars make a lot more money than she earned for gigs, bluntly revealing some of the terms that she remembers being used when she tried to ask for higher pay.

The Hollywood pay disparity between genders has been a big topic that has been talked about a lot in recent years, and the AP (opens in new tab) also interviewed Lena Waithe and Laura Linney in its interview. Waithe says things are "moving in the right direction," but also noted that the pay disparity has been found to be worse for black women in Hollywood, which is why she is speaking out. Laura Linney, who has been part of a Star Wars universe that has given large roles to female characters recently (and seen some backlash for it), also says she does feel like roles for women have been growing and expanding recently, noting "she does feel a change," although she's not sure "if it will take" over time.

Recently, some pay discrepancies have been identified and rectified, including the fact that The Crown's Clairy Foy was recently paid $200,000 in back pay after news broke that she was paid less than former Doctor Who actor Matt Smith, despite being the lead on the series. Evan Rachel Wood also recently learned she would be getting equal pay on Westworld, but both of those examples are TV roles. While some big name leads, including Benedict Cumberbatch, have spoken out about wanting equal pay on roles, we'll have to wait and see if the changes Nia Long desires continue to be made.

You can next see Nia Long on the big screen in Life in a Year, the upcoming Cara Delevingne and Jaden Smith movie about a terminally ill young woman who will spend her last year trying to live life to the fullest. Yes, that's also the gig Delevingne shaved her head for. We'll keep you updated on that movie and more, here at CinemaBlend, and for now, take a look at the full schedule of what's headed to theaters before the end of the year.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.