Marvel’s Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch is taking a public stand for equal pay in Hollywood, saying he won’t accept a role unless his female co-stars make the same amount of money as he does.
“Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism,” Cumberbatch told the Radio Times in an interview featured in the outlet’s May issue. “Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: ‘If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it.'”
But the prolific Oscar-nominated actor and star of the BBC’s Emmy-winning series Sherlock is also championing feminism through his new production company, SunnyMarch.
“I’m proud that [partner] Adam [Ackland] and I are the only men in our production company,” Cumberbatch said. “Our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster. If it’s centered around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female!”
Benedict Cumberbatch has been a proud feminist for many years, making it a public statement via the Elle magazine feminism issue in 2014, in which he wore a “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt. In addition to the eight as-yet-released movies in which he has been cast, Cumberbatch leads the new Sky Atlantic series Patrick Melrose, playing the eponymous heir and drug addict in a dark drama that The Guardian has already praised as a “brilliant portrayal of addiction.”