In an era where women of color often get paid less than men and white women in the industry, Octavia Spencer is praising the allyship of her friend and co-star.
Spencer and Jessica Chastain have been close friends since starring together in The Help, both winning Golden Globes for their work in the film.
Over a year ago, Chastain approached Spencer for an idea for a holiday comedy for them to star headline.
Spencer told Sundance's "Women Breaking Barriers" panel that it made sense as she wanted to break out of period pieces and Chastain wanted to do comedies. She says Chastain made a way for them when it came to salary negotiations for the film.
In conversation, Spencer said: "We were dropping F-bombs and getting it all out there. And then I said, ‘But here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So, if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table.’ And I told her my story, and we talked numbers, and she was quiet, and she said she had no idea that that’s what it was like for women of color.”
Holding back tears, she continued, “I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk. She said, ‘Octavia, we’re gonna get you paid on this film. You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.’ Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”
The pitch for the film went on to get put in a highly competitive bidding situation, with Universal winning it, beating out Fox and Paramount.
It will be produced by Chastain under her Freckle Films banner.
"We’re just sitting there sipping coffee, going, ‘Oh my god! Women are in demand!" said Spencer.
You can watch Spencer speaking about it herself at the panel below, at the 19:30 mark: