Advertisement

Olivia Colman says if she were a man, she’d be earning ‘a f**k of a lot more’

British actress Olivia Colman has hit out at the gender pay gap, declaring that she would be paid “a f**k of a lot more” if she were a man.

The star, who won an Oscar in 2019 for her leading role as Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” made the claim in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

There to discuss her current film, “Wicked Little Letters,” together with the movie’s director, Thea Sharrock, Colman, 50, suggested there could be no justification for paying women less than men.

Olivia Colman hit out at the gender pay gap in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour about her new movie, "Wicked Little Letters." - Don Arnold/WireImage/Getty Images
Olivia Colman hit out at the gender pay gap in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour about her new movie, "Wicked Little Letters." - Don Arnold/WireImage/Getty Images

She was responding to a question that Amanpour posed to Sharrock, asking whether female actors are now considered “big box office draws.”

Sharrock said “I would say yes,” before Colman cut in to say: “Research suggests that they have always been big box office draws, but they have chosen to say…”

Colman, who played Queen Elizabeth II in seasons three and four of “The Crown,” then paused briefly, adding: “Don’t get me started on the pay disparity.”

Clearly passionate about the subject, she continued: “Male actors get paid more because they used to say they draw in the audiences, but actually that hasn’t been true for decades. But they still like to use that as a reason to not pay women as much as their male counterparts. Particularly in our industry.”

Amanpour then went on to ask: “Do you have a pay disparity? I mean you’re an Oscar-winning actress, Olivia?”

Without hesitation, Colman replied: “I’m very aware that if I was Oliver Colman I would be earning a f**k of a lot more than I am.”

Reacting with surprise, Amanpour asked: “Really?” Colman replied: “Absolutely, yes.”

She said she was “aware of one (example of) pay disparity that is a 12,000% difference,” though she didn’t name the individuals involved.

Colman and Sharrock, who also directed the 2016 weepie “Me Before You,” starring Emilia Clarke, were there to discuss their new comedy about a poison pen letter scandal that rocked an English seaside town a century ago.

It tells of a young Irish newcomer to the town - played by Jessie Buckley - who is accused of sending out a series of coarsely worded poison pen letters to the town’s conservative residents.

When asked if there was a lot of swearing on set, Sharrock said: “Olivia is incredibly potty-mouthed,” before adding “We all are.”

“I think it’s a nice seasoning of language,” said Colman, who added that she tended to swear more when nervous.

When asked what her favorite curse word is, Colman said: “American audiences really aren’t keen on my favorite word.”

The word itself was bleeped out, though Colman tried to justify it by saying: “I do maintain that it is actually quite a cultured word because Chaucer used it.”

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com