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Octavia Spencer Cried As She Shared What Her Friend Jessica Chastain Did For Her

Spencer said Chastain "is walking the walk" when it comes to pay equity in Hollywood.

Posted on January 25, 2018, at 12:56 p.m. ET

Octavia Spencer teared up as she shared a story about how her friend and former costar Jessica Chastain fought for her to get better pay on the upcoming film they're doing together.

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In her story at a 2018 Sundance Film Festival panel, which begins around 19 minutes and 30 seconds into this video, Spencer explained that around March 2017, many months before the #TimesUp movement had started, Chastain came to her with a comedy project they'd previously discussed and wanted to vent about pay equity.

"She was like, 'It's time that women get paid the same as men!'" Spencer quoted Chastain as saying. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, Jessica! It's time!' And we were dropping f-bombs and getting it all out there."

Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images

"And then I said, 'But here's the thing: women of color on that [pay] spectrum, we make far less than white women, so if we're gonna have that conversation about pay equity we've got to bring the women of color to the table."

"And I told her my story and we talked numbers and she was quiet, and she had no idea that that's what it was like for women of color," Spencer said at the panel Saturday.
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"And I told her my story and we talked numbers and she was quiet, and she had no idea that that's what it was like for women of color," Spencer said at the panel Saturday.

That's when the Oscar-winning actor briefly broke into tears as she recounted what Chastain did next.

"These are happy tears," she said.
Golden Globes / Via youtube.com

"These are happy tears," she said.

Chastain's idea was to tie the two stars in negotiations so they could get a better deal together.

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"I love that woman because she's walking the walk, and she's actually talking the talk," Spencer said.

"She said, 'Octavia, we're gonna get you paid on this film ... You and I are gonna be tied together, we're gonna be Favored Nations, and we're gonna make the same thing and you're gonna make that amount,' and fast forward to last week, we're making five times what we asked for," Spencer said."Jessica Chastain believes," Spencer continued. "She is walking the walk. And now I want to go to what the men are making, but right now it feels really good just be in that conversation."
Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images

"She said, 'Octavia, we're gonna get you paid on this film ... You and I are gonna be tied together, we're gonna be Favored Nations, and we're gonna make the same thing and you're gonna make that amount,' and fast forward to last week, we're making five times what we asked for," Spencer said.

"Jessica Chastain believes," Spencer continued. "She is walking the walk. And now I want to go to what the men are making, but right now it feels really good just be in that conversation."

Spencer continued to praise Chastain on Twitter Wednesday, saying she was "eternally grateful."

@akstanwyck this is correct except I should clarify that I am making 5x my salary bc Jessica stood with me. I don’t… https://t.co/iQtJdMqmtL

"She had been underpaid for so long," Chastain explained. "When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars."

@melsil @octaviaspencer She had been underpaid for so long. When I discovered that , I realized that I could tie he… https://t.co/uxlSU3krLL

People were very moved by the story of two women looking out for each other.

Oooooh loving this story about Jessica Chastain & Octavia Spencer using collective bargaining Bonus: they can play… https://t.co/aRT5pf3caP

"Actions are so much more powerful than words," one person wrote.

@jes_chastain @melsil @octaviaspencer Actions are so much more powerful than words, and you have demonstrated again… https://t.co/KE0DbOYw25

"This is how you ally. Right here."

This is how you ally. Right here. You make sure the people around you benefit from your privilege. https://t.co/UQQSQF01Jw

Jada Pinkett Smith also praised Chastain for her actions. "I gotta give Jessica Chastain her props because she stood up for Octavia and put it down," she said at a panel earlier this week.

Prime example of sister solidarity between @jes_chastain and @octaviaspencer 📽: @MzSpectacular4u

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