KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
USA Today reports that Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for reshooting scenes in the movie "All The Money In The World." That doesn't sound super weird until you hear what else USA Today is reporting. Michelle Williams was paid less than $1,000 for doing the same thing. The film was reshot Thanksgiving week, a month before its release date. That's because Kevin Spacey was removed from the movie after men came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against him. USA Today's Andrea Mandell broke the story of this crazy pay gap, and she is here with me in the studio. Welcome.
ANDREA MANDELL: Thank you for having me.
MCEVERS: So you call this ugly math in your story. How did it happen?
MANDELL: Well, so I think first of all it's notable that Michelle Williams wasn't paid $1,000 for the reshoots. She was actually paid an $80 per diem...
MANDELL: ...for like food (laughter).
MCEVERS: Which added up to...
MANDELL: Which added up to less than $1,000. So we're not even really talking about a fee here...
MANDELL: ...To begin with.
MCEVERS: Why would someone not be paid for their work?
MANDELL: So essentially what I've come to understand is that when Ridley Scott decided to...
MCEVERS: The director.
MANDELL: ....The director Ridley Scott decided to pull this Hail Mary and assemble his cast in Europe over Thanksgiving week vacation to reshoot all of this, he asked his cast to do it for free - and, or they offered to. He didn't take a fee for the reshoot. Michelle Williams offered to do it for free to right this wrong, as she told me in December in our interview. And my understanding is that she thought that everyone was doing it for free. So it was a fair - you know, a level playing field. The issue becomes that Mark Wahlberg actually was able - his agents or his managers and lawyers were able to renegotiate that and turn it into a $1.5 million fee. Now, there's actually no problem here with an agent renegotiating and getting more money for their client. That's Hollywood. That's fair game. The problem here is that Michelle Williams was never told.
MCEVERS: Right. But aren't both actors represented by the same agency, William Morris Endeavor? Like would - is it possible that people wouldn't be talking about this within - I know it's a big agency, but...
MANDELL: That is the rub, I think - is that they're both represented by WME. It is hard to believe that an agency negotiating two different deals for two different actors on the same film particularly in an industry that prides itself on synergy - that they wouldn't be talking. And it would be quite another situation if they had told Michelle Williams look. Mark Wahlberg has more cachet here. He - it's really his name that they're there selling the movie. He needs a fee - heads up. But that's not what happened. She was just never told. So she found out later that this disparity had happened. And it begs the question would she have agreed to do it for free had she known.
MCEVERS: Right. Have you gotten responses to anyone involved in this since this story came out?
MANDELL: Well, I've gotten a lot of you don't understand. It wasn't me. Or it wasn't our fault. Or this is just the way it works. You hear that all the time. And I tend to tell people that I'm talking to that - you know, you use two brains for this conversation. You use the Hollywood business brain where you understand this is capitalism. Everybody's out to make a buck, and that's fine. But, you know, there's a huge difference between a $1.5 million fee for a star who opens movies internationally and a $80 per diem for a four-time Oscar nominee. It just doesn't make sense.
MCEVERS: Right. Yeah, it's funny. I mean, in some ways, you could see this as a story as like an agent just getting bamboozled. Like somebody along the way was like everybody's doing it for free. You should too. And that could have been a man or woman - right? - who was just like, great, we're good. It just so happens that that happened at a really bad time.
MANDELL: It happened at a bad time, and it happened in a bad way. You know, I think this does happen all the time. You know, salary negotiations aren't typically like a let's everybody write down our number and share it kind of game.
MCEVERS: (Laughter) Let's all hold hands and make sure it's fair.
MANDELL: Right. But what you do start noticing is a trend of women being undervalued, of this stacked game against what women bring to the table versus their male counterparts. And that is where pay transparency can start to really take effect.
MCEVERS: Andrea Mandell, West Coast entertainment editor at USA Today. Thank you so much.
MANDELL: Thank you for having me.
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