National treasure Robin Wright revealed on Tuesday that she recently demanded the same salary as her House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey, who in 2014 reportedly made $500,000 per episode. If Netflix declined, Wright threatened to go public with the wage disparity. The successful ultimatum is one that her razor-sharp character on the show, Claire Underwood, would have appreciated and undoubtedly employed.
“I was like, ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin,'” Wright said at an event hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation. “It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in ‘House of Cards.”
“I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time,” she added. “So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public—and they did.”
Wright, who has since added executive producer and director credits to her name, went on to explain that it was challenging to find work after her divorce from actor Sean Penn.
“Because I wasn’t working full time, I wasn’t building my salary bracket. If you don’t build that…with notoriety and presence, you’re not in the game anymore. You become a B-list actor. You’re not box office material,” Wright said. “You don’t hold the value you would have held if you had done four movies a year like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett did during the time I was raising my kids. Now I’m kind of on a comeback at 50 years old.”
Her remarks are especially timely as more women in Hollywood step forward with their own stories of unequal pay compared with their male co-stars.