When and if Westworld returns for a third season on HBO, Evan Rachel Wood will be on equal footing with her male co-stars in more than just the show's credits.
Wood revealed the news during a recent discussion with The Wrap's Sharon Waxman about Hollywood's ongoing gender pay-gap issues, noting that she's been told she will receive "equal pay" for her work on the show beginning with Season 3.
“I was just told that, you know, ‘Hey you’re, you’re getting equal pay.’ And I was like...” she said, miming a gasp. “And I almost got emotional. I was like, ‘I have never been paid the same as my male counterparts... Never, never.' ”
When Westworld arrived in 2016, it was as a sprawling ensemble drama headlined by the likes of recognizable veterans like Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris, but as the show's first season went on, it became clear that Wood would be the face of the series no matter how big the cast was. Her character — Dolores Abernathy, a host programmed to play a farmer's daughter who achieves consciousness by the end of the first season — has become an indispensable part of the show's marketing, and along with co-stars Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton, she's grown to dominate much of the series' screentime.
Trailers for the show's second season reveal that Wood's presence as one of the series' clear stars is not likely to go away anytime soon, and while she acknowledged that some of her co-stars may have been on a different level than she was when the show began, that's clearly not the case now.
“I found out... I’m always fighting for that. And I have turned down projects — Westworld, it’s like, I get it a little more,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Well, you’re Anthony Hopkins or Ed Harris.’ But I think now we’re all doing equal amounts of work and really hard work.”
In speaking out about her Westworld pay gap, Wood joins a growing list of actresses including Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, and new Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker in shedding light on what is still an unfortunately common problem in Hollywood and beyond. While in her case it sounds like Wood's pay bump was more of a welcome surprise than the result of a drawn-out fight, her willingness to open up about the disparity and how she felt when it was corrected adds and another important voice to an ongoing conversation.
“I have not moved," Wood said after noting that her pay has been "pretty much the same" on various projects for years. "And I’m not saying I’m in like dire straits. I’m very lucky... It’s more about if you’re getting paid fairly, or the same, or if you’re getting paid less simply because you’re a woman, that’s not fair.”
“There’s a lot of politics, but there’s a lot of things that are now being talked about in a different way,” she added. “There is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes. There is a lot of trying to make things equal and trying to make things fair. I don’t know, there is a lot of stuff. But this is the first time that somebody made a point of being like, ‘Hey you’re getting this. And you deserve it.’ And that was nice.”
Wood did not elaborate on just how wide the Westworld pay gap was before she was told she would receive equal pay, or on where the show's other female stars now stand in terms of salary. According to The Wrap, HBO declined to comment on Wood's remarks.
Westworld returns for its second season Sunday on HBO.