Mark Wahlberg and WME Donate $2 Million to Time’s Up Fund

January 15, 2018

Mark Wahlberg and his agency William Morris Endeavor donated a combined sum of $2 million to the Time’s Up legal defense fund in the name of actress Michelle Williams. Specifically, Wahlberg contributed $1.5 million, and WME gave $500,000.

The money was given in response to the recent controversy brewing about the pay discrepancy between costars Wahlberg and Williams for All the Money in the World movie reshoots. Indeed, Wahlberg was reportedly paid $1.5 million, whereas Williams received $80 per day totaling about $1,000 for the reshoots. It was also reported that her contract required her to do the reshoots whereas Wahlberg’s did not.

When the differences in pay were publicized, many argued the imbalance exemplified the gender pay gap in Hollywood–a hot topic in the industry. As both actors are members of SAG-AFTRA, a representative from the organization stated it’s looking into exactly why the actors were paid such different amounts in this circumstance.

Other factors affecting pay variance can include the box-office value of specific actors. According to Box Office Mojo, Wahlberg’s lifetime movie gross earnings amount to $2.9 billion, while Williams’ are $816 million. Also, some actors’ reps negotiate higher fees for their clients’ work. In this case, when it became clear that reshoots would be required, Williams reportedly said in an interview, “When this idea was hatched–that we were gonna go in and try to rewrite history–I was on the frontline. I was like, ‘You can have my salary, you can just take it, I don’t even do it … that’s not why I work. If that’ll help you, you can have it, you can have my break and you can have whatever and I’ll just be there waiting.'” Still, the significant disparity in pay was hotly debated.

“Over the last few days my reshoot fee for ‘All the Money in the World’ has become an important topic of conversation. I 100% support the fight for fair pay and I’m donating the $1.5M to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams’ name,” Wahlberg said in a statement.

WME had already donated $1 million to the Time’s Up fund earlier in January. Speaking on the latest donation, the agency said, “In recognition of the pay discrepancy on the ‘All the Money in the World’ reshoots, WME is donating an additional $500,000 to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams’ name, following our $1 million pledge to the organization earlier this month. It’s crucial that this conversation continues within our community and we are committed to being part of the solution.”

Upon hearing news of the donations, Williams released a statement saying, “Today isn’t about me. My fellow actresses stood by me and stood up for me, my activist friends taught me to use my voice, and the most powerful men in charge, they listened and they acted. If we truly envision an equal world, it takes equal effort and sacrifice. Today is one of the most indelible days of my life because of Mark Wahlberg, WME and a community of women and men who share in this accomplishment.”

All the Money in the World‘s reshoots were required when the film’s director Ridley Scott determined to reshoot all the scenes that featured Kevin Spacey who originally portrayed J. Paul Getty in the crime thriller. After multiple sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against Spacey, Christopher Plummer was recast for the part. The film went on to receive three Golden Globe nominations: Best Director, Michelle Williams for Best Actress in a Drama, and Christopher Plummer for Best Supporting Actor.

The Time’s Up fund was founded in response to the #MeToo movement, and it subsidizes legal support to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. It is administered by the National Women’s Law Center.



Michelle Williams Reflects on Her Outstanding Acting Journey

March 27, 2017

Michelle Williams believes one of the best things that ever happened to her was to “not have any kind of early success.” It was after seeing a local play during her childhood that Michelle Williams’ interest in acting was piqued. But when she put herself out there around eleven years old, the budding star realized what a challenging goal she had set for herself. “It’s a hard childhood to have or a lack of a childhood to have,” she once said. In this BAFTA Guru interview, the multi award-winning actress describes those early days saying, “When I first started auditioning, I auditioned for two years without ever getting a job. And two years is a lot of auditions. It’s a lot of being told no.” The Manchester by the Sea star now speaks from the vantage point of being a four-time Oscar nominee.  She continues:

“The longer that you want something and you don’t get it, but are able to withstand that kind of rejection, and still say that this is what you want to do, the stronger that it makes you. And the more able you are to weather the inevitable ups and downs–which really is just the life of an actor. Because there is no consistency and there is no security at any time. You’re always thinking: ‘Where is my next job? Where is it going to come from? What am I going to do?'”

Fortunately, young Michelle landed her first screen appearance at the age of 13 in an episode of the television series Baywatch, and her film debut in Lassie. And from Brokeback Mountain to Wonderstruck (which is currently in postproduction) roles certainly have continued to pour in over the years. With all her acting experience, she’s been speaking about a number of lessons she’s learned along the way. Here is some nuggets of wisdom she’s accumulated.

Williams shared some important information she’s learned to make her of more value to directors during a Variety Actors on Actors interview. First, she makes sure to “really know [the directors’] world.” Besides watching films they’ve authored, she pursues their influences and what inspires them “so I know how I can best sort of serve their vision because ultimately it really is a director’s medium.” But thinking of herself as a color on any given director’s palette, she was surprised to discover another lesson:

“I used to think that directors would hold like a magic key. I used to show up and think, ‘Fantastic! I got this job with somebody that I respect and now they’re going to show me how to do my job. They’re going to unlock something inside of me. And they would just look at me and say, ‘What do you have to give? What are you going to do? I hired you to do this job. What’s the magic thing you’re going to give me?’ And it took me a second to realize they need me to do what I want them to do. So I have to be the person in fact.”

Also, with experience the Blue Valentine star has come to fully embrace both her best and worst performances. She insists, “Things that I’ve done that haven’t turned out well are just as important as the things that I’ve done that have turned out well because they are equally instructive teachers.”

And lastly, Williams has the following advice to others pursuing the craft of acting. She says, “If anything that I’ve really learned or that I would want somebody else to not have to learn the hard way it’s to just like raise your hand, and use your voice, and shout out your opinion, and let come what may.” She’s come to better appreciate the value of risking embarrassment and asserts, “What’s the worst thing that can happen? Like you have a bad idea and you share it with somebody. Like you’re not going to die from that. And chances are, it might be whittled into something. Then it’s a good idea.”

Michelle Williams on Toughing It Out

June 10, 2016

Have you ever had to perform while you were sick or hurt? Staying focused, committed, and energized at these compromising times can prove to be an actor’s crucible! Other professions likely prefer a sick employee stay home to nurse themselves back to health, but in an actor’s world, unless there’s a highly accomplished understudy, then everyone is counting on the actor to pull through as “the show must go on!”

Well as they also say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Michelle Williams recently revealed her steadfast actor’s drive in a New York Post interview about performing in the Broadway play Blackbird with co-star Jeff Daniels. In the emotionally charged play inspired by crimes of a sex offender, Williams’ character Una confronts the older man, Ray, who preyed on her 15 years earlier. Williams gives us a glimpse of the trials she and her acting partner endured while performing eight shows a week:

“We’ve gone on in all states–we are wedded to each other in sickness and in health. He had a staph infection and did five shows with an arm that couldn’t move. I had the flu, bronchitis, vertigo and slipped a disc in my back 20 minutes before the end of the play. We will not miss a show because we depend so heavily on each other. At this point, I’d literally have to not have a pulse to be onstage!”

This love of the play and their sense of purpose have resulted in both Williams and Daniels being nominated for a Tony Award.

On a similar note, one of the most famous musical numbers in cinema history is the joyous song and dance Singin’ in the Rain from the film of the same title. But the astonishingly talented Gene Kelly’s buoyant performance is all the more stunning knowing he nailed the rain-drenched number while suffering with a 103-degree fever over the course of two days of filming the scene.

Another example of an actor who could have very easily put the breaks on his performance is Martin Sheen. Sheen cut his hand badly on the set of Apocalypse Now after he punched a mirror as he was drunkenly engrossed in a scene. The crew wanted to stop filming and attend to his injury, but he implored them to continue shooting. The scene of Captain Willard having a nervous breakdown in a Saigon hotel room became an iconic watershed due to its raw emotion and breathtaking realism. It will also live in the annals of film history because of the very real blood that was shed in the name of artistic integrity. It should also be noted that Sheen suffered a heart attack while making Apocalypse Now and was back on set a few weeks later ready to roll! For anyone who’s seen Martin Sheen’s work, this is not surprising; for many years he’s been known as an “all in” actor.

What kinds of trials and travails have you overcome in pursuit of being a tenacious, unyielding, reliable, never-say-die actor?

Questioning If You Belong

October 17, 2013

Have you ever felt consumed by the feeling that you don’t belong while you were waiting amidst a group of auditioning actors, or on the set of a commercial or film? You know that feeling when you look around and it appears that everyone has a rapport with one another, and they all seem to be both experienced and confident in their abilities–meanwhile you’re feeling consumed with awkwardness and self-doubt. Like school kids sense they don’t fit into the smart class, or in the athletic or cool-kids click, adults are certainly not immune to such sensitivities in the work force. Unfortunately, doubt can pop up every now and then and disrupt your ability to adapt to new situations, and inhibit you from doing your best. Well, as much as you may feel convinced that you are alone in your feelings of loneliness and insecurity at that moment, you really are not alone. After all, many of the most successful actors have admitted to feeling they don’t belong at times during their careers. Jessica Alba, for example, once revealed in Cosmo“I was always insecure about belonging and felt that my success was probably going to go away, so I’ve overcompensated.”

So what’s to be done when you want to bolster your sense of belonging?

Actors may doubt if they are sufficiently creative, original, talented, skilled, or confident as they navigate their careers. First of all, try not to be so hard on yourself. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So make sure to challenge that kind of self-talk. Take stock in what makes you unique and give yourself credit for each of your strengths. Make sure you appreciate the special person that you truly are, including all your gifts, and thoughts, and acknowledge the good work you’ve done to get where you are today. And research has shown that if you are feeling detached from a particular group, just by finding even one or two others who you feel comfortable with fosters a sense of belonging that helps to bring out your best. Sure it’s common sense, but it can really help you to shine.

th-2Also, be sure to plan ahead when you know you’ll be experiencing a transition, and give yourself some extra nurturing and perspective. In other words, don’t be caught off guard when you’re about to venture onto the terrain of a new project. It can be helpful to remind yourself that your role models felt unsure of themselves when they were starting out and persevered regardless. So, reread those passages from their biographies to remind yourself that moments of doubt are par for the course. Doing so can increase feelings of belonging and improve your performance. Michelle Williams said in an interview with Another magazine“Every day feels like the first day, and every day you think ‘They’re going to fire me; I don’t know what I’m doing; I don’t know how to do this; I don’t know why I’m here, Everybody’s going to find out.’ But the comforting thing is everybody feels like that, every actor that you talk to says ‘I have no idea what’s going on…’ the feeling is a very common one… if it felt safe it wouldn’t feel exciting.” Indeed, it can be argued that feeling like a misfit has the potential to inform your performance by making your character more vulnerable and relatable. 

amy-adams-jpgIf you can really internalize that the actors or role models you most admire in fact did struggle, you’ll have a better chance of accepting your own struggles and believe your aspirations are attainable. And doing so can make you feel that you belong in their company. Amy Adams said to Elle UK“[After 2002’s ‘Catch Me If You Can’] I choked. I felt this pressure to suddenly be this level of actress that I wasn’t confident enough to be. Being an actress hasn’t made me insecure. I was insecure long before I declared I was an actress … I had an existential crisis at the Oscars, sitting next to Sean Penn and Meryl Streep and being like, ‘What am I doing here? I don’t belong here.'”

Social psychologists have documented how corrosive this self-doubt can be: eroding our motivation, reducing our expectations, even compromising mental resources that we could otherwise apply to adapting and focusing on our work. The feeling of not belonging has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, it’s wise to take it seriously. Remember, if you find yourself auditioning or if you find yourself on set or on the red carpet or at an awards ceremony… you belong! It’s that simple; indeed, it’s axiomatic.


What’s Your Type…in Commercial Casting?

November 22, 2011

It may be hard for you to admit this because you are a tremendously diverse, uncommonly nuanced, unpredictable, multi-talented actor who refuses to be labeled. But labeled you are. Every time you’re called in for a commercial audition, you are labeled: surfer, mom, edgy, real, quirky, stud, girl next door, nerd, slacker, convict, model, glutton–and the list goes on. Even alternative actors have a label: alternative. Alternative to what, I’m not sure. But whether you like it or not, you are someone’s type—a sort of person who can be identified immediately by anyone watching commercials. It’s important to understand what type you are, or what types you can convincingly pull off, for two reasons: so you can be cast as your type, and so you can be cast against type.

When you go with the flow and boldly own your type, most importantly, you can maximize your chances for a particular role. If they’re looking for the epitome of an all-American in his or her twenties, and you foot the bill, you don’t want to be out of town during this audition. Some argue typecasting can be restrictive. Michelle Williams who plays Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn explained her insights into her character as a sex symbol. “[Marilyn] spent years working on that part, creating that part… I think publicly, it was difficult for her to play different roles. People really didn’t want to see her differently. Studios certainly didn’t want anyone to see her differently ….”

While it’s true that sometimes even famous actors can feel shackled by type, a long list of actors from calm-mannered, wise narrator Morgan Freeman to hilarious bromantic Seth Rogen would certainly agree that typecasting helped them land a bounty of roles. Click here to see a list of 11 Terminally Typecast Actors.

It’s also important to know the image you project in case you want to play against type. When Christopher Walken took to dancing joyously in Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice video we took notice. And Bill Murray caught us by surprise in his more serious, dramatic role in Lost in Translation.

But playing against type is easier to pull off in films–and much harder to pull off in commercials. With a 15 to 60-second time constraint, commercials don’t exactly allow for character development. So, emphasize what comes naturally. The trick is to bring your own personality, your own life force, and your own joie de vive to the role! They’re looking to be engaged with your own brand of charisma. So go in there and blow them away, even though you know you’re more than just that label!