Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne pushed for pay equity on Netflix’s ‘The Good Nurse’
By David Friend
Jessica Chastain says it was a “no-brainer” that she and her co-star Eddie Redmayne had equal pay for their roles in “The Good Nurse.”
The Hollywood actress says both of them signed onto the upcoming Netflix drama with the understanding they would receive the same rate for roles that had similar screen time.
“It’s been so long where people have not been valued for what they bring to the table and I think it’s about time we all start talking about it,” Chastain said before the film’s Sunday premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Credit to Octavia Spencer
She credits actress Octavia Spencer with opening her eyes to disproportionate pay in the film industry.
The two starred in the 2011 Oscar winner “The Help” and more recently discussed the importance of taking action to promote equity in the film industry as well as talking about how it affects other industries.
On Chastain’s action flick “The 355,” which she co-produced and was released earlier this year, the actress has said she pushed for pay equity among all of the A-list stars, which included Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o and Bingbing Fan.
She also negotiated an agreement for another recent film where she “didn’t get the exact same salary” as one co-star, but secured the “same salary per day” for the work put into the project.
The Good Nurse
In “The Good Nurse,” Chastain stars as a woman who fears her new co- worker and friend, played by Redmayne, may be secretly poisoning the hospital’s patients. When investigators turn to her for help, she’s faced with putting herself in a position that could risk her job and her life.
Director Tobias Lindholm, who wrote the Oscar-winning international feature “Another Round,” took the unusual approach of inviting both actors to his apartment a month before shooting. As a group, they worked through what Redmayne called a “water-tight” script written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns that faced few on-set changes.
“I know that sounds like a simple thing, but I’ve barely ever had it,” said the star of the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a Harry Potter spinoff.
“I was so used to working with scripts where they’re changing the words on the day … and I hate that. When you’re playing a character you do have to prep them in a vacuum, but you want to know what your whole arc is.”
Chastain agreed that shooting on “The Good Nurse” came with a refreshing sense of organization.
“Sometimes you work with actors who show up on the day and you’re prepped and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m not going to do that.’ Well, what are we doing?” she said.
“You want to make sure that the person you’re working with is generous about other people’s processes.”
“The Good Nurse” debuts Oct. 26 on Netflix.
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