Thursday 24 May 2018

Benedict Cumberbatch: Ask what women are being paid

The Crown was the latest show to spark controversy because of pay disparity.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Matt Crossick/PA)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Matt Crossick/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Benedict Cumberbatch has hit out at pay disparity in Hollywood, saying he will not accept a role unless a woman is paid the same.

Royal drama The Crown became the latest production to spark controversy because of unequal pay, when it emerged that Matt Smith was receiving more than Claire Foy.

Foy, who starred as the Queen, was paid less than Smith, who played the Duke of Edinburgh, in the Netflix drama because Smith was better known.

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Matt Smith and Claire Foy (Ian West/PA)

Sherlock star Cumberbatch told Radio Times magazine: “Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism. Look at your quotas.

“Ask what women are being paid, and say: ‘If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it.’”

He said of his own production company: “Our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster….

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The cover of Radio Times (Radio Times)

“Half the audience is female! And, in terms of diversity, Black Panther is now the third most successful film of all time. The audience is there!”

The Avengers: Infinity War star also talked about fame, saying that most of the encounters he has with people are “benign”.

But online, he said “it feels like there’s a constant queue of people waiting to throw rotten tomatoes at you”.

“I prefer the real world to the internet. It’s much kinder,” the actor added.

Cumberbatch said that despite his Harrow education, he had “to posh up” for his latest role in TV show Patrick Melrose.

Cumberbatch plays the title role in the new five-part drama, on Sky Atlantic and Now TV, which is an adaptation of novels by Edward St Aubyn.

The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times.

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