Netflix's House of Cards boasts one of television's most terrifying duos, Claire and Frank Underwood, the fictional first couple of the United States. On-screen, the Underwoods are both equally ruthless and manipulative, formidable opponents as a team and even against each other.
But off-screen, Robin Wright, who plays Claire, faced a different challenge — the gender wage gap. Speaking at an event at Rockefeller Center on Tuesday night, Wright said that she demanded to be paid the same as her co-star, Kevin Spacey, who plays Frank Underwood.
"I was like, 'I want to be paid the same as Kevin,'" she told the room, and elaborated on how she asserted herself during negotiations:
It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in 'House of Cards.' I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood's character was more popular than [Frank's] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, 'You better pay me or I'm going to go public.' And they did.
Spacey was rumored to be paid $500,000 for each episode, and The Huffington Post estimates Wright's pay as somewhere around $420,000 per episode.
An increasing number of Hollywood stars have come out publicly against the wage gap, among them Jennifer Lawrence and Susan Sarandon. But the practice is still mind-bogglingly common. Take the X-Files revival, for example. Though viewers made clear their desire to see Scully and Mulder team up again, producers offered Gillian Anderson only half of David Duchovny's pay for the revival — which just seems like poor business judgment on their part.
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