Jessica Chastain creates a dual pay deal for The Help buddy, Octavia Spencer – and provokes a bidding war for their Christmas comedy coupling


TWO CLASSY A-lIST actresses appearing in a forthcoming Christmas comedy together is hardly an original news story, but amid the sweeping contemporary cultural wave that is the anti-discriminatiory timesup movement, the multiracial female force of Spencer and Chastain is provoking its own momentum. Let’s be honest. What production company wouldn’t want these two powerhouses sparing with each other on screen? Sounding at this stage as possibly a female version of Planes, Trains And Automobiles, the stars will play a pair of women battling the winter weather to make it home for Christmas (Universal snapped them up, beating Fox and Paramount for the pitch.)

Friends since they worked together on The Help each of their careers have gone from strength to strength. Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar, Miss Sloane… (Chastain); Spencer as well as receiving an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help has featured strongly in Fruitvale Station, Hidden Figures, The Shape Of Water… Yet their latest joint project – presently untitled – while financially ground-breaking in its assertiveness (these gals knew what they were worth and fought for it), was underscored by their friendship. Chastain’s sisterly willingness to take heed of her black colleague’s experience and seek justice proved the spur.

She’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,’ Academy Award winner, Octavia Spencer said of her good friend. The Molly’s Game actress and herself twice an Oscar nominee (for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty), Chastain approached Spencer regarding the red head’s Freckle Films planned seasonal production. Chastain, vocal about Hollywood’s gender pay gap listened when her friend told her that black actresses are frequently paid less than white actresses. Her response was for them to unite as a pair.

Speaking during the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Women Breaking Barriers panel at the Sundance Film Festival, Spencer explained: ‘She said, “Octavia, we’re gonna get you paid on this film.. You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favoured nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.“‘Spencer has revealed she ended up with five times what she is normally paid!

But it’s not over til it’s over. This is just the start:
‘Now I want to go for what the men are making,’ says Spencer.

Further details of the film will be announced as they are available.

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