Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence Defends DiCaprio’s Higher Pay For Don’t Look Up

Jennifer Lawrence defends Leonardo DiCaprio's higher pay after it was revealed he made $5 million more than her in the upcoming film Don't Look Up.

Jennifer Lawrence, who stars in Adam McKay’s upcoming disaster-comedy Don’t Look Up, recently defended Leonardo DiCaprio’s higher pay in the film, despite Lawrence receiving top billing. The highly-anticipated film comes on the heels of McKay’s Oscar-nominated Vice (2018) and features an impressive ensemble cast of A-listers. Don’t Look Up sees Lawrence and DiCaprio headlining, and features performances from Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, and plenty more.

According to McKay, Don’t Look Up is a satirical tackling of the climate change crisis. The apocalypse-comedy follows low-level astronomer Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) and grad student Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence) as they embark on a media tour to warn the public of a quickly-approaching, planet-destroying comet. Along the way, Randall and Kate try to get the U.S. government to take action by speaking to the President (Streep) and her Chief of Staff (Hill), but their words go unheard. The astronomers also appear on a news talk program called The Daily Rip, where their concerns about the potentially catastrophic comet are laughed off by co-hosts Jack Bremmer (Tyler Perry) and Brie Evantee (Cate Blanchett). Kate and Randall eventually become targets of internet trolls, politicians, and even the FBI

Even though Lawrence received top billing in the film, she was not top paid. In August, an annual Variety report on acting salaries in Hollywood revealed that DiCaprio earned $30 million for Don’t Look Up and Lawrence earned $25 million. Though gender-based pay gaps continue to be a massive issue in the industry, Lawrence was adamant that this wasn’t the case for her role in Don’t Look Up. She defended DiCaprio’s higher pay in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, saying he “brings in more box office,” and that she felt “extremely fortunate and happy” with her deal. Lawrence’s full quote can be read below:

“Look, Leo brings in more box office than I do. I’m extremely fortunate and happy with my deal. But 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.”

When creating the film, McKay admitted he wrote the character of Kate specifically with Lawrence in mind. Because of this, it might seem surprising that Lawrence wasn’t paid as much as DiCaprio. However, DiCaprio is one of the most in-demand, well-respected actors in Hollywood, whose name alone would unarguably bring attention to any movie he signs onto. In addition to his A-lister status, DiCaprio also helped McKay tweak the Don’t Look Up script over a period of several months before he agreed to star in the film. DiCaprio is famous for his environmental advocacy, and likely had a lot to add to or change in McKay’s original script, due to the story’s satirical take on climate change. With this in mind, DiCaprio could have been given a little extra due to his involvement in the writing process.

It’s safe to say that Don’t Look Up is one of Netflix’s biggest—and most expensive—projects to date. With a truly impressive cast each getting paid millions of dollars for their roles on top of a presumably large budget, the streaming service is betting a lot on the successful performance of the film. So far, critics are praising the new comedy, with some arguing it could be an early Oscar contender. Thankfully for fans eager to see the movie, its release date is right around the corner. Don’t Look Up arrives in theaters on Dec. 10 and is available for streaming on Netflix starting Dec. 24th.

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