In an interview with the Radio Times, Benedict Cumberbatch declared that he would not take a role where his female co-star is not paid equally.
“Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism,” Cumberbatch said. “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.'”
Cumberbatch’s comments come on the heels of several movements looking to increase the roles of women, both in front of and behind the camera, and see them paid equally.
Frances McDormand, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, called upon the industry in her speech to adopt Inclusion Riders.
An Inclusion Rider, in essence, is a clause that an actor can include in their contract which stipulates that project they are working on exercises gender and racial equality in their hiring.
Cumberbatch, who also owns a production company called SunnyMarch, has expressed a desire to put more female-led projects into production.
“I’m proud that [partner] Adam [Ackland] and I are the only men in our production company; our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster,” he told the Radio Times. “If it’s centred 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 is currently starring in five-part television mini-series, Patrick Melrose, airing on Showtime, and can also be seen reprising the role of Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War.