When moviegoers watch Adam McKay’s upcoming Netflix comedy “Don’t Look Up,” they might notice Jennifer Lawrence’s name appearing on screen for a half second before Leonardo DiCaprio’s during the opening credits. That’s because the “Silver Linings Playbook” Oscar winner got top billing on the movie. As Lawrence confirmed to Vanity Fair for a new cover story, “I was number one on the call sheet.” The original plan was for the two A-list actors to share top billing, but Lawrence floated the idea of being top billed at some point during production.
“[Am I ok] with being number one on the call sheet? Yeah,” Lawrence said. “And I thought [the credits] should reflect that. Leo was very gracious about it. I think we had something called a Laverne & Shirley, which is this billing they invented where it’s an equal billing. But I guess maybe somewhere down the line, I kicked the stone further, like, ‘What if it wasn’t equal?'”
Lawrence might’ve been top billed, but she was not top paid. An annual Variety report on acting salaries in Hollywood published in August revealed DiCaprio earned $30 million for “Don’t Look Up” and Lawrence earned $25 million. As Vanity Fair noted, Lawrence made 83 cents to DiCaprio’s dollar.
“Yeah, I saw that too,” Lawrence said about the headlines regarding the pay gap between the two Oscar winners. “Look, Leo brings in more box office than I do. I’m extremely fortunate and happy with my deal. But in other situations, what I have seen — and I’m sure other women in the workforce have seen as well — is that it’s extremely uncomfortable to inquire about equal pay. And if you do question something that appears unequal, you’re told it’s not gender disparity but they can’t tell you what exactly it is.””
McKay wrote “Don’t Look Up” for Jennifer Lawrence, and the actress got the first read of the script. Lawrence stars as Kate Dibiasky, an astronomy grad student who discovers a comet hurtling towards earth. Kate and her professor, Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio), set out on a tour across America to warn the country about the impending doom.
“No one has more beautiful anger than Jen,” McKay told Vanity Fair. “When she unleashes, it is a sight to behold. Think of her in ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ her in everything. I wanted to cut loose with a strong, funny truth-teller woman and that’s Jen Lawrence. I mean, that character poured out of me. I would just picture Jen and you knew exactly what she would say…She’s going to be the one who doesn’t play the game. And, of course, she’s going to be pilloried for it, which will be heartbreaking, but she’s never going to play the game.”
“Don’t Look Up” opens in theaters exclusively on December 10. The film’s streaming date is set for December 24 on Netflix.