Jennifer Lawrence defends Leonardo DiCaprio’s higher pay for Don’t Look Up

Despite their equal billing on the forthcoming Adam McKay disaster comedy, Lawrence says she is ‘extremely fortunate and happy with my deal’

Last modified on Tue 23 Nov 2021 08.22 EST

Jennifer Lawrence has defended the higher salary paid to Leonardo DiCaprio for Don’t Look Up, their forthcoming film for which they receive equal billing.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Lawrence said: “Leo brings in more box office than I do. I’m extremely fortunate and happy with my deal.” A recently published report in Variety suggested that DiCaprio will receive $30m (£22.5m) for the movie, and Lawrence will be paid $25m ($18.7m) – meaning DiCaprio’s fee is 20% higher.

Lawrence added: “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.”

In Don’t Look Up, a satirical comedy directed by The Big Short’s Adam McKay, Lawrence plays a PhD student who discovers a comet that threatens to destroy Earth, and DiCaprio the professor who joins her in trying to warn humanity.

Lawrence also revealed that she had asked to have a slightly more prominent credit than DiCaprio. “I was number one on the call sheet, so … I thought [the credits] should reflect that. Leo was very gracious about it.” Saying that originally they were to have a “Laverne & Shirley” credit, aka “diagonal billing”, Lawrence says she requested her name to appear fractionally earlier. “I guess maybe somewhere down the line, I kicked the stone further, like, ‘What if it wasn’t equal?’”

In 2015, Lawrence publicly criticised Hollywood’s gender pay gap, in an essay in Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter newsletter in which she acknowledged the problems “aren’t exactly relatable” – but after revelations she was paid considerably less than male co-stars, she “got mad at myself”. She added: “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”

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