Noting the pay disparity between herself and Ashton Kutcher on the 2011 film “No Strings Attached,” Natalie Portman has joined the ranks of actresses speaking out about being paid less than male co-stars with equal billing.
The Long Island-reared Portman told the U.K. edition of Marie Claire that she was paid one-third as much as Kutcher. “I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,” she said, referring to the amount a star was paid for his or her previous film, an informal standard for the actor’s subsequent salary. “His [quote] was three times higher than mine so they said he should get three times more. . . . I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy.”
At the time she made “No Strings Attached,” Portman had just won the Academy Award for 2010’s “Black Swan.” “Compared to men, in most professions women make 80 cents to the dollar,” the actress, 35, said. “In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
Portman, who was born in Jerusalem and raised primarily in Jericho, added that, “I don’t think women and men are more or less capable. We just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities. We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem.”
In an October 2015 essay, Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence decried gender-based inequality in the film industry, writing that, “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than [male actors], I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”
Rooney Mara the same month told the U.K. newspaper The Guardian, “I’ve been in films where I’ve found out my male co-star got paid double what I got paid, and it’s just a reality of the time that we live in.”
Discussing “No Strings Attached” with Newsday in 2011, Portman said, “People were not sure about me doing a romantic comedy,” noting that while rom-coms had been offered to her previously, studios still “worried because I hadn’t done one, and studios like to sort of rely on you to appeal to a certain kind of audience. So they were used to me doing serious films and for romantic comedies they want to have romantic-comedy people that have already done it. It’s sort of like repeating what’s worked already, because they’re the business side of it and it’s a safer bet.”