Jessica Chastain Helped Increase Octavia Spencer’s Salary 5x Over

by Olivia Butler

August 7, 2018

Photos by C Flanigan/FilmMagic and JB Lacroix/ WireImage

Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain have been close friends since starring together in The Help. At Sundance’s panel on “Women Breaking Barriers,” Spencer shared a story about the duo’s friendship that will hopefully set a precedent for equal pay moving forward.

It all began when Chastain approached Spencer with an idea for a holiday comedy for them to star in.

According to Shadow and Act, 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. Then they got on the conversation of unequal pay between men and women, which let to Spencer explaining that a pay gap existed between white women and black women as well.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 10: Actresses Octavia Spencer (L) and Jessica Chastain attend the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and InStyle celebrate the 2017 Golden Globe Award Season at Catch LA on November 10, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

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.”

SANTA MONICA, CA – JANUARY 10: Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer attend the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards 2013 with Skinnygirl Cocktails at Barkar Hangar on January 10, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)

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.”

Shadow and Act reports that 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.

Watch Spencer speak about it herself in the video below. It begins at the 19:30 mark.

TELL US: What do you think of Jessica Chastain’s efforts to help Octavia?

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