Olivia Colman says “I’d be paid more if I was Oliver”

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Oscar winning actress, Olivia Colman, discusses the film industry’s gender pay gap saying she knows she’d paid more if she was a man.

After jokingly promising not to swear as much in interviews, Olivia Colman told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: “I’m very aware that if I was Oliver Colman, I’d be earning a f*** lot more than I am.

“I know of one pay disparity which was a 12,000% difference. Do the maths.”

While promoting her latest film Wicked Little Letters, the gender pay disparity naturally came up in conversation.

Well known for her various Human Rights advocacies including women’s rights, it’s no surprise Olivia Colman didn’t hold back.

Speaking candidly, Colman continued: “Research suggests that they [women] have always been big box office draws.

“Don’t get me started on the pay disparity, but male actors get paid more because they used to say they draw in the audiences. And actually that hasn’t been true for decades.

“But they still like to use that as a reason to not pay women as much as their male counterparts, particularly in our industry.”

Watch the full interview below

A string of successes… and gender pay gaps

Olivia Colman officially became a Hollywood A-lister in 2019 when she won the Academy Award for best actress as Queen Anne in The Favourite. Despite this and a further two nominations over the years, this Oscar winning actress joins a long list of women who are being paid less than men for leading roles in film and television.

Over the last decade, the issue of equal pay in Hollywood has become a hot topic. The debate was first spotlighted back in 2014 when leaked emails from Sony executives revealed actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than their male co-stars for American Hustle, which was a box-office success.

Forbes’ latest top 10 list of the highest-paid actors of 2023  includes only two women – Margot Robbie and Jennifer Anniston.

Claire Foy was paid less than her co-star Matt Smith in ‘The Crown’, before passing the baton to Olivia Colman.

Olivia Colman played Queen Elizabeth II in series three and four of Netflix’s The Crown. Around the same time, it was revealed that Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II before Colman, had been paid less than Matt Smith, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Despite Claire Foy’s Golden Globe-winning performance, producers argued that Matt Smith’s prior Doctor Who fame immediately earned him a bigger salary.

Olivia Coleman’s role in Wicked Little Letters supports her opinions on gender inequality

Wicked Little Letters has provided quite the platform! Olivia Colman has been using the film’s promotional tour as a chance to discuss some of the double standards she believes women face both on-screen and off.

Colman plays one of several women targeted by anonymous obscene mail while living in a small English seaside town in the 1920s.

The movie is based on a true story and the script’s profanity was lifted straight from real letters. The language used was so shocking at the time that it was even debated in Parliament.

Earlier this year, Olivia Colman was outspoken once again while discussing the film in the Radio Times Podcast. She said: “Everyone was following it in the broadsheets. It was shocking.

“Today, there are [still] comments on what women should look like… if a woman swears people act shocked!

“F*** off! Women are human – funny, filthy, loving, caring – just like men.”

Wicked Little Letters is in cinemas now!

Read more from our TV & Film section

Hannah McLaren

I've worked at DC Thomson for six years! I began as an intern at My Weekly and The Scots Magazine, which was extended by a few months to help out at The People's Friend. I then covered maternity as Celebrity Editor for My Weekly, before I became Multimedia Journalist at The Scots Magazine. Currently I'm writing digital content across each title.