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Benedict Cumberbatch Says He’ll Only Take New Projects If His Female Co-Stars Receive Equal Pay

"If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it."

Benedict Cumberbatch'Avengers: Infinity War' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 23 Apr 2018

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Benedict Cumberbatch has committed to only taking on projects in which his female co-stars receive equal pay. In an interview with Radio Times, the “Avengers: Infinity War” actor calls pay equality a “central tenet of feminism” and says he’s “proud” to be only one of two men at his production company — something he’d like to see replicated elsewhere.

“It’s about implementation,” he says. “Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism. Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: ‘If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it.’” Several high-profile examples of pay inequality between male and female co-stars have made headlines in recent months and years, ranging from projects like “The Crown” and “Westworld” to “Everybody Knows” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

“I’m proud that [friend and business partner] Adam and I are the only men in our production company; our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster,” Cumberbatch adds. “If it’s centred around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female. And, in terms of diversity, ‘Black Panther’ is now the third most successful film of all time.”

Cumberbatch can currently be seen in “Avengers: Infinity War,” which may well surpass the box-office take of “Black Panther,” as well as the Showtime miniseries “Patrick Melrose.”

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