Rooney Mara Says the Gender Pay Gap Is ‘a Side Effect of Something Much Greater’

Rooney Mara. Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Often, the discussion of the pay gap between women and men in Hollywood focuses on raw numbers, but according to Rooney Mara, “We’re having the wrong conversation.” “The conversation isn’t we’re not getting paid as much as men,” Mara said in an interview with Deadline. “The conversation should be why and where does that come from because it’s just a side effect of something much greater.” That larger issue, in Mara’s mind, is that “there is a certain language that we use or that people use to talk about women and certain types of women in our industry and in lots of different industries, that we would never use to describe men. And I think when you’re getting paid less, there’s sort of this sense that ‘Well you don’t really respect me or feel like you need me as much you need these other people.’”

When Mara did The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Daniel Craig got paid a lot more than she did, but,as she explained, “no one knew who I was ... He’s the one putting asses in the seats, not me.” Mara herself has had only one experience in a studio film where she was paid significantly less than men for no reason, but other than that, she has worked on smaller projects where the actors all take equal pay. After two Oscar nominations, Mara can claim to be the one putting the asses in the seats in her next projects, so here's hoping Hollywood rewards her future work fairly.