“No one goes to a movie because Michelle Williams is in it,” a writer recently suggested on Twitter.
Sure. Let’s face it – Williams is just a has-been from some TV show in the 90s and we only know her because she was married to Heath Ledger right?
I’m sorry, but no one goes to a movie because Michelle Williams is in it. Mark Wahlberg is box office honey. https://t.co/ZJ2UyNBLJ5
— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) January 14, 2018
Wrong. Michelle Williams is a successful actress with dozens of films to her name – many of which have iconic status in pop culture. She is firmly established Hollywood royalty.
Williams has been nominated for four Academy Awards for Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week With Marilyn and Manchester by the Sea. She won a Golden Globe and Spirit Award for Marilyn, and has been nominated for numerous Screen Actors Guild awards.
Williams, who is an incredibly popular A-list celebrity, is also an established fashion icon, and has graced the cover of numerous fashion magazines.
All of which makes her a very bankable talent, because it's clear that people love her and want to see her work, and see her in things.
So naturally, the assertion that no one would pay to see her movies was met with significant backlash online.
Um, Michelle’s been nominated for four Academy Awards. Generally speaking (as someone who’s worked extensively in film production), that’s more valuable than a cute jawline and some abs.
— Samuel Leighton-Dore (@SamLeightonDore) January 14, 2018
People didn't agree that Michelle wasn't a powerful drawcard in her own right, and didn't appreciate the comparison to Mark Wahlberg:
Who's avoided a movie cause Mark Wahlberg is in it? ????
— gen (@gnl08) January 14, 2018
The reason the comparison between Williams and Wahlberg was made was because of the new movie they're in, All The Money in the World. The directors of that film decided to replace Kevin Spacey after he was accused of sexual assault, just weeks before the film’s release in November last year.
The cast was called back to re-shoot the scenes that had involved Spacey, with Christopher Plummer replacing him. They were reimbursed for their time, but it's been revealed that Wahlberg was paid US$1.5 million for the 10 days he worked on the reshoot, while Williams received approximately US$1000.
This information gained traction in the media discussion of the wider issue of gender pay gaps, which is why Wahlberg then announced that he will donate the entire $1.5 million to the #TimesUp Legal Defense Fund, set up to help underprivileged women who are the victims of sexual harassment and assault.
"Over the last few days my reshoot fee for 'All the Money in the World' has become an important topic of conversation," Wahlberg said in a statement, The Cut reports. "I 100 per cent support the fight for fair pay and I'm donating the $1.5 million to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams' name."
Michelle Williams was touched by the gesture, and responded like the queen she is:
"Today isn’t about me," the actress said. "If we truly envision an equal world, it takes equal effort and sacrifice. Today is one of the most indelible days of my life because of Mark Wahlberg, WME and a community of women and men who share in this accomplishment."
LISTEN: This is what all those celbrities are trying to bring attention to. (Post continues below.)
Which of course simply confirms her as the Hollywood royalty that many of us already know she is.
So, to her detractors, we say; you may not have paid to see a Michelle Williams film before, but you have 1.5 million reasons to now.