Months after the industry reeled from the revelation that Mark Wahlberg received millions more than co-star Michelle Williams for reshoots on “All the Money in the World,” another high-profile pay inequality came to light involving Netflix’s “The Crown.” Though Claire Foy was the lead, she was paid significantly less than Matt Smith — a bigger name when “The Crown” started, thanks to “Doctor Who.” The network apologized, and producer Suzanne Mackie vowed that “going forward, nobody gets paid more than the Queen.”
Foy’s been quiet on this news; she’s enmeshed in production of “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” as the latest iteration of cyberpunk Lisbeth Salander, and stars in Steven Soderbergh’s newly released thriller, “Unsane.” However, her “Unsane” co-star Joshua Leonard has been making the rounds, and offered some thoughts about the scandal that surrounded Foy’s breakout role.
“I’m sure that the people making that show thought that they were doing the right thing, because it’s the thing that was always done,” he said. “Thank god the information came to light, because the reality is it’s bullshit and it should’ve never happened. But until now, we didn’t have the transparency as a society to know that it was happening, so we didn’t have the opportunity to disagree with it.”
Issues surrounding women both onscreen and off are at the root of “Unsane,” in which Foy plays a woman haunted by her experiences with a stalker (Leonard) who may or may not have tracked her to a mental hospital where she’s been committed against her will. Leonard said that the movie is a wakeup call to men about the kind of oppression women face on a regular basis.
“Even as a liberal white guy married to a Canadian feminist with a daughter, I am constantly aware of the protective bubble that I find myself in,” he said.
However, he added that his own filmmaking efforts are have been notably diverse. He recently wrapped production on the Marisa Tomei vehicle “Behold My Heart,” his second directing effort following 2011’s “The Lie,” and highlighted the key roles played by many women on the set.
“I had a female co-writer, an Asian- American DP, a female production designer, and I had a female lead,” he said. “I think it’s important that we’re mindful in hiring, but in my specific case when we were hiring people for that movie, I didn’t compromise at all. I hired the people who were best for the job. It just speaks to the fact that there are a ton of qualified women out there.”
Stay tuned for more from IndieWire’s interview with Leonard next week.