Olivia Colman says she would be paid more if she was a man

Olivia Colman says she would be paid more if she was a man
European premiere of Empire of Light – BFI London Film Festival 2022, © PA Archive/PA Images

Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman has hit out at gender pay disparity, saying she would get “paid more” if she was a man.

The British star, who starred as Britain's late Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown and as the 18th century monarch Anne in The Favourite, also dismissed suggestions that male actors encourage cinemagoers to watch movies.

Colman was asked on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour programme about women being taken more seriously in Hollywood.

European premiere of Wicked Little Letters – London
Olivia Colman, Anjana Vasan, Thea Sharrock and Jessie Buckley (Ian West/PA)

She said: “Research suggests that they’ve (women have) always been big box office draws… don’t get me started on the pay disparity, but male actors get paid more because they used to say they draw in the audiences and, actually, that hasn’t been true for decades.

“But they still like to use that as a reason to not pay women as much as their male counterparts.”

Colman added: “I’m very aware that if I was Oliver Coleman, I’d be earning a f*** of a lot more than I am… I know of one pay disparity, which is a 12,000% difference… do the maths.”


She was on the news show to talk about Wicked Little Letters, which she stars in alongside Irish actress Jessie Buckley and looks at the true story of poisoned pen messages that hit the town of Littlehampton in West Sussex in the 1920s.

Both actresses were previously in The Lost Daughter together, where Colman played a mother reflecting on her past, and earned Buckley her first Oscar nod.

Colman received her second Academy Award nod for leading actress for the drama in 2021 following her taking home the same award for The Favourite in 2018.

She was also given an actress in a supporting role nomination for The Father, which saw Sir Anthony Hopkins play a man with dementia, in 2020.


The Graham Norton Show
Adam Sandler, the highest paid actor of 2023, according to Forbes. (Isabel Infantes/PA)

This month, Forbes named Adam Sandler as the highest paid actor of 2023.

Sandler raked in $73 million following the success of his 2023 Netflix film Murder Mystery 2 and his stand-up comedy tour, according to the US business magazine’s annual list.

Australian actress Margot Robbie was the second-highest earner, achieving $59 million for the year, following her starring role in blockbuster Barbie, which she also produced.

The only other woman to place in the top 10 was Friends star Jennifer Aniston, who was Sandler’s co-star in his comedy film. Aniston placed sixth by earning $42 million, Forbes said.

Tom Cruise placed third when he cashed in on the latest Mission: Impossible series movie and managed to earn himself $45 million in 2023, while Barbie star Ryan Gosling and Oppenheimer actor Matt Damon both placed fourth, earning $43 million.

Also in the top 10 was Killers Of The Flower Moon actor Leonardo DiCaprio, The Equalizer franchise star Denzel Washington, Expend4bles actor Jason Statham and Air director and actor Ben Affleck.

By Charlotte McLaughlin, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter