Patricia Arquette knew there would be repercussions after her Best Supporting Actress Oscar speech in 2015, where she advocated for equal pay and equal rights for women.
The 20-second declaration took its toll on the actress and at a recent panel for female filmmakers sponsored by the Tribeca Film Festival and the #ActuallySheCan campaign, opened up once more about having lost jobs because of her plea for equality.
“I always knew I was paid less than men,” she said. “They would be very clear about that, sometimes, when they would make offers to you: ‘Well, they’re paying the guy, so they don’t have any money’ – they would say things like that.”
After the 2014 Sony hack, her eyes were opened to the disparities in pay and profits between genders and wanted to take a stand. “I had just seen a lot of people struggle to make a living, and I just didn’t think it was fair,” adding that she knew she would lose jobs because executives or producers, “were dumb enough to say something that made it clear.”
“It’s O.K. if I don’t work anymore. I would be sad because I want to make art, but if that’s what it takes, I guess that’s what it takes,” said the 48-year-old actress. “At my age, it’s a time in my life where I want to do things that make the world a better place for everyone to live in.”
Arquette continues to find work but recently turned down an indie film because the profit-sharing was not up to par. “You’re basically donating your whole normal salary, and your name value, and your everything [to a lower budget film],” she explained. “If it does succeed you should participate in the success of that. The back-end participation was not the same as the man’s, so I did walk away from that job.”
During the panel she also spoke highly of the upcoming documentary shorts from directors Emily Harrold, Ricki Stern, Erin Sanger and Annie Sundberg. All their films will be premiered on Thursday at the festival and be available online on ActuallySheCan.com the following day.
While there is still much to be done about equal pay for women, the “Boyhood” actress is positive that there will be a change coming soon, “Sometimes when you’re in a position to make a difference – to be a part of that story is a great thing.”