The premiere for Season 2 of HBO's Westworld is just around the corner, but the future beyond that already looks to have made some good strides for its female stars. Thandie Newton has revealed that she'll be securing the same payday as her male co-stars when the show heads into its third season, joining co-star Evan Rachel Wood, who made a similar announcement earlier this week.
Newton and Wood play two of the robotic hosts in Westworld's immersive Western theme park, Maeve and Dolores, and both characters are pivotal to the show's narrative and its exploration of the themes of identity and consciousness, so it's hard to imagine the show without them.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Newton revealed that contract negotiations are underway and that "we're all equal across the board." She also could not underscore enough the importance of pay parity. "It’s really exciting. It’s unprecedented. It’s — goodness; it shatters so much calcified pain, resentment, frustration. It just shatters it." She also believes it's going to change the way she does business in the future. Her response to any deal that values her less than male co-stars? "F*** that. It literally sets a precedent, and [HBO is] leading the way, which is amazing."
Wood revealed her own equal-pay deal earlier this week, noting, "I almost got emotional. I was like, ‘I have never been paid the same as my male counterparts... Never, never.'" HBO does not comment on contract negotiations, but reports had it that actors Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris were the highest-paid cast members in Season 1.
It's an unjustifiable truth that women in Hollywood are often paid less than their male peers for the same work, but a marked push for pay equality in recent months, spurred by the Time's Up campaign against sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace, has put the issue front and center. New Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker is being paid the same as her predecessor, Peter Capaldi, and actors including Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, and Kerry Washington have spoken out about pay inequality. After it was revealed that Michelle Williams was paid significantly less than co-star Mark Wahlberg for reshoots on All The Money in the World, Wahlberg donated his reshoot salary to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.
There's no word on whether Westworld's equal pay deal extends to the show's other leading women, including Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, and Tessa Thompson, but we also don't know if any of their characters will make it to Season 3. New cast members joining in Season 2 include Get Out's Betty Gabriel, The Leftovers' Katja Herbers, and Pacific Rim's Rinko Kikuchi.
Westworld returns for its second season Sunday on HBO.