In a new interview with EW Radio and Sirius XM’s Jessica Shaw, Julianna Margulies revealed why she turned down a request to guest star on this season of The Good Fight and how she was motivated by actresses who “don’t have the voice or the power” to speak up.
Margulies admitted that she finds it “crass” to talk about money but felt compelled to open up about an offer she received to do a three-episode arc opposite Christine Baranski (Diane Lockhart). The actress is currently doing press for National Geographic’s adaptation of The Hot Zone, the 1994 nonfiction best-seller about the race to contain the Ebola virus in a Virginia research facility.
“While I was shooting The Hot Zone, [The Good Wife and The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King] called me and said, ‘We think enough time’s gone by, the show’s got its own legs, we’d love to have Alicia come back,” Margulies recalls. “I said, ‘Oh my God sign me up, I’m so excited. I get to work with my friends. Great writing. I miss Alicia.'”
But when she learned the network’s studio arm, which produces The Good Fight for CBS All Access, would not pay her what she earned on The Good Wife, she ended up saying no to the temporary gig. “I wasn’t asking for $1 million. I wasn’t asking for $500,000 an episode. I was asking what I got paid on The Good Wife. So, a spin-off of my show, to play a character that created that show, was asking what she should get paid, and it wasn’t asking for the moon.”
“I hate talking about money,” adds Margulies. “I find it crass but we live now in a world where equal pay is a very important platform for all of us women who do everything in high heels and backwards. I love men but it’s got to stop. I am in an enviable position in that I can walk away from a job. I know how lucky I am that I can say no to a job.”
The actress also admitted that she’s frequently asked by reporters about possibly guest-starring on The Good Fight. She used to come up with stories for why she wasn’t doing it — but not anymore. “I thought, Why am I protecting CBS? I said yes. They said no. And you know what? I need to pave the way for the next one coming up… I also know for a fact that any male star who is asked to come on a spin-off of their show would’ve been offered at least $500,000… I’m not angry, I just needed to speak my truth… If they were to ask me to go back on The Good Fight, paying me what my salary is, [I would be there] in a heartbeat.”
Listen to more of Margulies’ interview above. The Hot Zone premieres May 27 on National Geographic.