If there is one hot topic in Hollywood that is only getting hotter, it’s the enormous gender pay gap female stars face when signing on to movies and television shows.
While some stars, like Shameless’ Emmy Rossum, have successfully negotiated salaries on a par with their male costars, others, like Emma Stone, have had to find sneakier ways to reach parity, like asking male costars to take pay cuts. Well, sound the alarm, because it seems like a show actually managed to find a way to pay women and men equally without it being a gigantic nightmare for all involved.
Halt and Catch Fire, AMC’s period piece about the birth of the internet, will be paying its four leads the same salary regardless of gender. In an interview with Vulture, stars Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishé described their decision to ask for equal pay for the show’s fourth and final season:
“Before this season, it was really important to me, just on a personal level of being like, I don’t need to get paid more than anybody; I just want to be paid the same,” Davis, who plays the coding genius Cameron Howe, told Vulture on the set of the show in Atlanta. “Kerry and I deserve to get paid the same as the boys.” Bishé, who plays Donna Emerson, a senior executive at a VC firm, added, “I do think that the principle is important, no matter the size of the numbers we’re talking about.”
According to Davis and Bishé, AMC was more than happy to give them raises that put them on par with their male stars, although the women did mention the oft-referenced quote system, in which an actor’s salary is decided based on previous salaries (a very convenient cause of and excuse for pay disparity).
Despite initially unenthusiastic reviews, the show blossomed into something special, thanks to the show shifting focus onto its female characters, giving audiences different and far more compelling stories than the typical white anti-hero stuff they were used to. Congrats to Davis and Bishé for getting compensated for their work, and maybe the relatively smooth experience they had can be a lesson on how it should be done elsewhere in Hollywood.