Bradley Cooper has been speaking up about the pay gap between male and female movie stars, saying he’s going to start helping actresses negotiate better wages from movies he is interested in working on.
Cooper’s American Hustle co-star Jeremy Renner, on the other hand, doesn’t think it’s his job to bother with that kind of thing. That may be true, but his further illustrates Cooper’s willingness to go above and beyond to help his female co-stars.
As you may know, Jennifer Lawrence, who was named the world’s highest-paid actress last year, and also starred in American Hustle, recently penned an essay on the subject of the pay gap for Lena Dunham’s newsletter Lenny. Here’s an excerpt:
It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).
But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? I’m seriously asking…
The essay won praise from many, including her peers and even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Brava, Jennifer. It's hard to speak up against inequity and risk being unpopular—but equal pay matters for us all. http://t.co/g29cRkq5ln
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 16, 2015
As the essay gained attention, Bradley Cooper applauded Lawrence and told Reuters about his plan.
In his own bid to address the pay gap, Cooper said he has begun teaming up with female co-stars to negotiate salaries before any film he is interested in working on goes into production.
“I don’t know where it’s changing otherwise but that’s something that I could do,” Cooper said. “Usually you don’t talk about the financial stuff, you have people. But you know what? It’s time to start doing that,” he added.
Cooper had also mentioned that Amy Adams was especially underpaid for her role in American Hustle (which won her a a best actress nomination).
Now, Jeremy Renner is in the headlines for his comments on the whole thing. Business Insider asked him if he’d be willing to negotiate alongside female co-stars as Cooper has talked about doing. According to the publisher, Renner responded, “That’s not my job…I don’t know contracts and money and all that sort of stuff.
According to the report, Renner did add that he fully supports actress receiving equal pay, but he’s just more focused on his own craft, saying, “I’m a performer and I know human behavior. When it comes to that sort of stuff I let other people deal with that. I do what I’m good at, that’s what I focus on.”
Renner was in the headlines earlier this year for calling the Black Widow character from the Avengers films a slut. He later apologized after the Internet raised a stink.