Benedict Cumberbatch Says He Won't Accept Roles Unless His Female Co-stars Get Equal Pay

Meanwhile in Cannes 82 women silently protest how difficult it is for female directors to be featured in the festival's competition.

His name may send him to another dimension if he says it backwards but Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he's anything but backwards in a new interview.

Speaking to Radio Times, Cumberbatch revealed he wouldn't be taking on future projects unless his female co-workers would receive equal pay.

"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 hit at a very interesting point in Hollywood where the entire industry is looking at gender inequality under a microscope.

Recently, high-profile cases of women being paid less than their male counterparts have become major conversations. In the case of The Crown, the undeniable star of the Netflix series, Claire Foy was being paid less than co-star Matt Smith due to him "being a bigger name" coming off the back of his stint in the BBC's Doctor Who.

The series' production company, Left Bank Pictures, issued an apology to the two stars after producers revealed the pay differences during a panel.

"We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith," the statement read, "brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own."

"We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a re-balancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes."

The Crown Star received back pay after public outcry
After public backlash the producers of 'The Crown' were forced to apologise to the stars, while Foy received back pay for her work in the Netflix series. Image: Netflix.

Afterward, Foy reportedly received £200,000 back pay for her work on the series.

Similarly with HBO's Westworld, actress Evan Rachel Wood -- one of the principal cast members -- revealed she would be payed the same as her male co-stars, but not until the start of the show's third series.

Wood clarified that she understood the disparity, starring alongside Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins in the first season, but once the show had established itself it became clear the actors were all doing the same amount of work.

"It's more about if you're getting paid fairly or the same," Wood said, "or if you're getting paid less simply because you're a woman ... that's not fair."

Cumberbatch, who recently stared in Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War also described how proud he was that he is only one of two men at his production company SunnyMarch.

"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!"

These cases of gender inequality are no longer being swept under the carpet, with many, many high-profile women across the industry standing up and getting involved in movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp.

Over the weekend the Cannes Film Festival saw 82 women from across the industry climb halfway up the stairs toward the Palais des Festivals.

The protest included jury members Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, Agnes Varda and Cate Blanchett in a symbol of how difficult it is for women to climb the ladder in the industry.

In the 71 years of the festival only 82 films have been directed by women were featured in the main competition, compared with 1,645 directed by men.

Featured image: VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images.