Michelle Williams’ interview for Vanity Fair’s September cover is brilliant. In typically non-Bechdel-compliant fashion, the wider media has gone nuts over the revelation that she’s now married. But that’s not the meat of the story, and it’s not what made us beam. It’s the way the 37-year-old starlet explained how her gender paygap scandal came to light (refresher: she was paid less than $1,000 for reshoots on All the Money in the World when male co-star Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million).
That info was already in the public domain, but nobody paid attention till her pal Jessica Chastain tweeted about it in January and the story blew up. Other actresses piled on: Busy Philipps, Amber Tamblyn—women of a similar age to Williams, who, by Hollywood convention, should be her competition. Instead, they had her back. They used their privilege to amplify her voice, and now, Williams is using the Vanity Fair piece to speak out for herself.
The theme of women being vocal and supporting other women is everywhere in Hollywood this year—Amandla Stenberg dropping out of the running for a Black Panther role so that a darker-skinned actor, Letitia Wright, could excel. Alia Shawkat speaking out in support of Arrested Development co-star Jessica Walter when she discussed her abuse by Jeffrey Tambor. The success of ensemble movies like Ocean’s 8. The whole Time’s Up movement. It’s a far cry from the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Hollywood clichés.
Having the ladyballs to speak out as a way of leaning in comes with confidence, and thankfully that self-assuredness has a way of growing stronger in our mid-years. Williams’ Vanity Fair quote, “You’re told that things get worse as you age, from the outside… But your internal experience is ‘I’m hitting my stride,’ ” gave us all the feels. More evidence of change? Williams has just been announced as the star of a new TV show called Fosse/Verdon, about the relationship between choreographer Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, his dancer wife. She’ll be receiving the same pay as co-star Sam Rockwell and like him, will get an executive producer credit. So much more inspiring than anyone’s love life.
Collage: Emily Wraith
Like this story about Michelle Williams’ Vanity Fair article that’s really about the power of women supporting women? Have a read on how we can compliment one another in the age of Me Too.