Saturday 10 December 2016

'I would work for nothing' - Captain America: Civil War star Elizabeth Olsen talks gender pay gap

Stephen Milton

Published 29/04/2016 | 11:29

Actress Elizabeth Olsen arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of Sony Pictures Classics
Actress Elizabeth Olsen arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of Sony Pictures Classics "I Saw The Light"

While the firestorm over the gender pay gap continues to burn through Hollywood with stars like Sienna Miller, Toni Collette and Jessica Chastain all recently voicing their discontent, Elizabeth Olsen appears to remain blissfully oblivious to the industry-shaking controversy.

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After the Sony email hacks revealed a gross inequality in salaries between American Hustle stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, the issue has endured as a hot topic of debate.

But when faced with her own pay negotiations and whether the revelations had affected her rate, Olsen, 27, claimed she’d be ‘happy to work for free.’ 

“I’m just happy to be working,” the star of new Marvel release, Captain America: Civil War remarked. “I let the people that I hire do my contracts. I would work for nothing and they know that. They literally don’t tell me what’s going on till towards the end, when I say, ‘that sounds good.’ And they’re like, ‘No, no it’s not.’ But I don’t care.

Elizabeth Olsen in Captain America
Elizabeth Olsen in Captain America

“Obviously there’s a whole other issue with equality. It kind of feels obnoxious for me to complain about it because I’m so fortunate in what I do and feel like I’m on equal footing when I work.

“That’s a problem very clearly in facts. That’s just a factual issue. Women are always underrepresented in any job, atmosphere. Whether you’re a chemist or whatever it is you do. It’s any industry.”

Civil War is the second outing in the billion dollar Marvel universe for the younger sister of former tween magnates, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

As the powerful Scarlet Witch, she finds herself torn when the government threatens the Avengers with heavy monitoring controls after a series of calamitous blunders results in massive collateral damage and death tolls.

Robert Downey Jr’s Iron is all for it; Chris Evans’ Captain America is against. Which side will she choose?

“She’s in this difficult position,” Olsen tells Independent.ie at the London press junket. “She lost her brother in the last movie, has no other family and is a relatively new addition to the Avengers and now has to contend with picking sides. But there won’t be any sitting on the fence, she makes her decision pretty early on.”

While part of one of Hollywood’s most successful franchises ever, the actress still enjoys a surprisingly low level of celebrity on the street.

“I get very little. At the airport it happens a lot, out of anywhere else. But I don’t live my life within a level of paranoia. If people say anything, they’re always pretty nice. They often don’t want a photograph or selfie or anything else, they just say nice things and who doesn’t want to hear nice things about what you do. Thank you, keep it coming.

“But it’s a mess when you do a junket like this and can’t walk out of a hotel without weird people trying to get you to sign a piece of paper that they’ll probably sell on Ebay for 30 cents. That’s weird.”

Captain America: Civil War is in cinemas this weekend

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