One year ago this week, The Daily Beast discovered a surprising admission in the email dump that followed the massive hack on Sony Pictures: Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were compensated less than their male co-stars in David O. Russell’s American Hustle.
Months later, after refusing to address any of the Sony revelations, Lawrence penned an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter in which she tackled the gender pay equity issue head-on.
“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself,” she wrote, explaining that in an effort to fit the culture’s expectations of a young ingenue being “adorable” and not speaking her mind, she “failed as a negotiator.”
“I spoke out because I knew what led to that,” Lawrence told Charlie Rose about the discrepancies between her compensation and that of her male co-stars in a new interview set to air Wednesday night on PBS. “I knew that there was no one to blame but myself.”
Absolving Sony of any culpability, Lawrence said that she sees women, including herself, imposing a “gender bias” on themselves. “I feel awkward negotiating, I feel uncomfortable asking for more money, I don’t want to seem like a brat,” she said. “I don’t want to seem like all these things that are only words that are used for women.”
“I used to just keep my mouth shut about everything because my job depends on everyone going to see my movies, not just people who agree with my opinions,” Lawrence told Rose. “And people don’t really like opinionated actors or celebrities.”
“But as I get older and I learn more and I have opinions,” Lawrence says, she realized she has “just as much of a right to speak” as anyone else—especially when it comes to something “so clearly unfair.” The 25-year-old says she felt a responsibility to speak up for women who “don’t have a voice.”
“I want to be that person who will say that thing that’s really hard to say, that’s really awkward and really difficult,” Lawrence told Rose during another portion of their interview. “One day I want to be able to just say it, and not make a joke, and not try to make it cute, but to just say it.”
Just as Lawrence has apparently no negative feelings toward Sony Pictures, the American Hustle revelations also did not sour her relationship with Russell, who directs her for the third time in Joy, which hits theaters on Christmas Day.
Lawrence described Russell to Rose to “the only person whose call I answer every single time, no matter what.” When he approached her about playing the inventor of the Miracle Mop in Joy, she gave him an immediate yes.
“David could pitch me something that sounds horrible” and she would still do it, she said. For her, it’s not about the “outcome” of the movie, as it is with her other projects, but rather about the “experience” of making it.