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edge staff writer


Celebrity Slam - Marky Mark's money matters

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One of the things we love doing in this space is to take famous people to task for their misdeeds. We enjoy scorning and deriding those in the celebrity sphere who say or do things that are terrible and/or stupid.

We REALLY enjoy it.

And so we were sharpening our pencils with anticipatory glee when controversy surfaced regarding the reshoots on the film “All the Money in the World.” Those reshoots - which were necessitated by accusations of reprehensible behavior against star Kevin Spacey and resulted in Christopher Plummer assuming the role - wound up pointing out a different egregious example of the unpleasant realities of Hollywood.

See, word got out about the respective compensation for the actors who came back to work on the film. Specifically, the compensation for the film’s two other big-name stars.

Michelle Williams came back to do the work for nothing more than a standard per diem and wound up making less than a grand for the nearly two weeks of reshooting.

Mark Wahlberg came back and got $1.5 million for his trouble.

As you might imagine, when those numbers leaked, there was considerable outrage over the massive difference in their respective paychecks. And rightfully so – there’s no excuse for that kind of disparity, regardless of who might have done the negotiating (though it’s worth noting that Williams and Wahlberg are represented by the same agency). Particularly since director Ridley Scott had publicly made a big deal about everyone coming back and doing the reshoots on the cheap out of the goodness of their hearts.

The reports conflict – some say his contract had a clause for reshoots and hers didn’t, others say that Wahlberg had co-star veto power in his deal that he leveraged for more money – but the long and the short of it is that he got a boatload of cash and she got lunch money and – shockingly – people had a problem with that.

For his part, Wahlberg handled the situation like the PR-savvy dude that he is, eventually opting to donate the money to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund … and he did it in the name of Michelle Williams.

You have to feel for Williams, who pretty clearly neither wanted nor expected to get thrust into the limelight and become a poster child for Hollywood’s wage disparity. And again, one assumes that her contract was negotiated in good faith.

But it’s hard to fault Wahlberg for trying to get a better deal. Marky Mark’s got a reputation as a bit of a shark, someone who is ruthless in negotiations. It’s not his fault that he was able to get more money. The magnitude of the gap is obviously a problem, but he should get what someone is willing to pay.

And for both of them – and literally everyone else involved with this movie – this whole situation had to be viewed as a tremendous pain. There are plenty of movies that get rocked by scandal, but how many wind up weathering one and making it to the cineplex only to get hit by another, very different scandal?

Not many.

As for the charitable donation, well – it was the right thing to do. But it’s not like Marky Mark had a choice. The negative publicity surrounding this thing would have buzzed for weeks, causing far more than a million-five’s worth of damage to the brand. This way, he gets to come off as having made some sort of noble sacrifice.

But here’s a news flash that is almost certainly not news to anyone who pays attention to how the world works: there is no way on God’s green Earth that Dirk Diggler hands over that check without the situation forcing him to, so let’s try not to pretend that he’s some kind of concerned altruist. This is damage control and nothing more.

Let’s be clear – we don’t think that Wahlberg had it out for Williams. We don’t think he was trying to somehow diminish her compensation. The issue isn’t with him individually, but rather the system that has sprung up that allows something like this to even happen. We’re not saying that everyone needs to receive the same cash – there are obviously legitimate extenuating circumstances that relate to movie star finances – but there should at least be some logic to it.

Man, $1.5 million – that’s a funky bunch of money.


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