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Liam Neeson wants pay parity but won't take a pay cut himself

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 12/01/2018 Maria Puente
Liam Neeson holding a sign posing for the camera: Liam Neeson at the New York premiere of 'The Commuter' on Jan. 8. © Angela Weiss, AFP/Getty Images Liam Neeson at the New York premiere of 'The Commuter' on Jan. 8.

Liam Neeson says he supports pay equity in Hollywood but he's not willing to take a pay cut to achieve that.  

"No! Pay cut? No, no, no, that's going too far," the Irish actor told The Associated Press while promoting his latest movie, The Commuter.

It wasn't clear where or when this interview took place. It wasn't clear whether or not Neeson was joking. Context is limited on Twitter, which is where the snippet of the interview appeared Thursday. 

Warning: The video clip contains expletives. 

"There's a lot of discussion about it and a lot of healthy and necessary discussion about it because the disparity sometimes is (expletive) disgraceful," Neeson told the interviewer.

So how does Hollywood move forward? "We're starting and it's starting with these extraordinary actresses and brave ladies and we as men have got to be part it. We started it, so we have to be part of the solution," he said. 

Would he take a pay cut to even things out? No way, Neeson made clear.

"No, there has to be parity, there just has to be," he said. 

It was unclear whether Neeson was responding to that other embarrassing mess in Hollywood over huge pay inequities between men and women — specifically, the Mark Wahlberg vs. Michelle Williams Grand Canyon pay gap on All the Money in the World, as revealed by USA TODAY on Tuesday.

Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams, Ridley Scott posing for a photo: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams and Ridley Scott at the Dec. 18 premiere of 'All the Money in the World' in Beverly Hills. © Kevin Winter/Getty Images Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams and Ridley Scott at the Dec. 18 premiere of 'All the Money in the World' in Beverly Hills.

The male-dominated industry power structure has long understood that male movie stars typically get paid more than female stars, even if both are getting zillions. 

Now the ugly math details are out: Wahlberg (nominated for two Oscars) got paid more than $1 million and Williams (nominated for four Oscars) got paid about $1,000 to reshoot scenes when Christopher Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey (who was fired for the sexual misconduct accusations against him). Williams also was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the kidnapping drama; Wahlberg wasn't.

Invoking contract language, Wahlberg and his team of reps refused to approve Plummer as a replacement unless Wahlberg was paid more than $1 million for the reshoot, USA TODAY learned. 

Williams apparently wasn't told this, complicated by the fact that she and Wahlberg are represented by the same agency, William Morris Endeavor, which helps negotiate their clients' contracts. 

In August, Forbes named Wahlberg the highest-paid actor of the year, calculating his pre-tax and pre-fee earnings at $68 million.

Neeson, by the way, last made that list in 2015, when he placed No. 22 with $19.5 million. 


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