Reese Witherspoon is fighting to close the gender pay gap in Hollywood and achieve equality. Both Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman negotiated significant pay increases when hit HBO series Big Little Lies was renewed in 2017. The pair are now set to earn US$1 million per episode, The Telegraph reports.
But these two respected actresses aren’t going to see their female costars earning less than they deserve. Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, has revealed that Witherspoon inspired him to fix the company’s “disparities in pay” for good. “One of the things that’s come out of thinking about the [Time’s Up] movement and some conversations with Reese, who’s really at the forefront, is… we’ve proactively gone through all of our shows… and made sure that there were no inappropriate disparities in pay,” he said. “Where there were, if we found any, we corrected it going forward. And that is a direct result of the Time’s Up movement… I think it’s retraining all of our thinking.”
Bloys added that a pay review was needed across the Hollywood spectrum. “When you’re putting a show together, people come in with different levels of experience and maybe some people have won awards or something that makes them stand out,” he said. “But when you get into season two or three of a show and the show is a success, it is much harder to justify paying people wildly disparate numbers.”
Both Witherspoon and Kidman are strong supporters of the Time’s Up movement. Accepting her award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Series at the 2018 Screen Critics Guild Awards, Kidman addressed the movement and the need for change. “We’ve proven that we’re potent, powerful and viable”, she said. “I just beg that the industry stays behind us because our stories are finally being told.”
Meryl Streep has joined the Big Little Lies cast for season two, and Kidman shared the first glimpse of the veteran actress on social media last week.