Amy Adams earned critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for her performance in David O. Russell’s 1970s con drama American Hustle, but her accomplishments did not come without sacrifice.
In a new interview with British GQ, the actress acknowledged that she accepted the role knowing she was being paid less than her male costars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner.
Adams said she hadn’t previously spoken out about Hollywood’s gender pay gap — unlike Hustle costar Jennifer Lawrence, who published an essay on the issue last year — because she disagreed with “people who had opinions on how women should go about negotiating. The truth is we hire people to negotiate on our behalf, men and women …. I knew I was being paid less and I still agreed to do it because the option comes down to do it or don’t do it. So you just have to decide if it’s worth it for you. It doesn’t mean I liked it.”
Adams also told the magazine that working with Russell was tumultuous, and that the director brought her to tears during production of the film.
“I was really just devastated on set,” she said. “I mean, not every day, but most. Jennifer [Lawrence] doesn’t take any of it on. She’s Teflon. And I am not Teflon. But I also don’t like to see other people treated badly. It’s not OK with me. Life to me is more important than movies.”
The experience, Adams said, “taught me how to separate work and home. Because I was like, I cannot bring this experience home with me to my daughter.”
A representative for Russell did not immediately reply to a request for comment about Adams’ remarks.
Lawrence’s essay, published in October, has sparked considerable conversation about gender inequality in Hollywood. In the essay she admitted to not pushing for a bigger payday on Hustle, so as not to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” She wrote, “At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.'”
Several fellow actors voiced their support of Lawrence, including Emma Watson, Jessica Chastain, and Hustle costar Cooper. Renner initially came under fire for saying it’s not his job to help female costars negotiate for equal pay, but he clarified his comments and asserted that he has “always supported women deserving equal pay.”
Russell was also asked about the essay at the time and said, “I always support all my actors and all their opinions, and I want them all to get what they need.”
The filmmaker added, “It’s hard to make a movie come together with a lot of big stars. American Hustle had a lot of big stars in it. We all contributed to help make it happen.”