The clip below starts with DuVernay thinking she had made it big time when she was picked to direct "Selma" (after six male directors passed) and had a budget of $20 million, which was a big jump from her previous film's budget of $200,000. Then she talked to an indie director peer whose follow-up film also had a bit of a higher budget -- a much higher one since he was picked to direct "Jurassic World." (Colin Trevorrow went on to be picked to direct "Star Wars: Episode IX.")
The ladies laughed about that, but things took a sadder turn when Swank spoke up about the pay for her two Oscar-winning roles. At 24, she made just $3,000 for the 1999 indie "Boys Don't Cry," which only had a budget of about $2 million and made around $11.5 million total, but earned her an Oscar. That $3K was so little that it wasn't even enough to qualify for health insurance with the Screen Actors Guild. Apparently Swank didn't know that until she tried to pick up a prescription and had to pay more than she expected.
Hilary Swank: "I had an Academy Award, no health insurance."
For that indie breakout film, you can understand the starting pay. Her second story, on still getting comparatively low pay after winning another Oscar for 2004's "Million Dollar Baby" (which made more than $200 million around the world) is more frustrating.
Hilary Swank: "Then I win my second Academy Award. The next couple movies later, I get offered a movie. The male hadn't had any kind of critical success, but had been in a movie where he was 'hot,' and he got offered $10 million and I got offered $500,000."
Chelsea Handler: "This is after two Academy Awards?"
Hilary Swank: "Yes."
Connie Britton: "What are you talking about?"
Ava DuVernay: "The truth. The truth."
Hilary Swank: "So I said no, and then they went and found a newcomer who did it for $50,000. So they made a savings of $450 [thousand] probably to give the guy his bonuses."
Deshauna Barber: "But is that not unfair, though?"
YES. Even if that male was Brad Pitt in this prime he still wouldn't deserve 20 times more than a two-time Oscar winner with name recognition who proved she can anchor a major movie. (It probably wasn't Brad, though, since his big "hot" debut was in "Thelma and Louise" in 1991.)
Here's the clip:
Watch the full episode at www.Netflix.com/Chelsea.
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