Netflix’s hit series House of Cards took a huge blow because of Kevin Spacey’s sexual assault allegations, causing an earlier-than-planned demise of the series. But what is often overlooked is that it was equally Robin Wright’s show, despite which she had to fight for equal pay.
When Wright discovered a significant wage gap between her and her lead co-star, she took matters into her own hands. In a move that too many women have had to take, Wright also had to go down the route of self-advocacy and standing her ground.
Robin Wright’s journey into House of Cards was marked by hesitation. After taking a break from acting to focus on her family, she was offered the lead role opposite Kevin Spacey. The Forrest Gump actor was initially sceptical about doing television but was convinced by producer David Fincher, who promised her a revolutionary platform. He assured Wright that she would have 13 hours to develop her character, and her role as Claire Underwood would evolve into something far more significant than a politician’s wife.
As House of Cards gained immense popularity and became a hallmark of the streaming era, Wright’s character, Claire Underwood, emerged as a central figure, on par with Spacey’s ruthless politician. She was the “Lady Macbeth to his [Spacey’s] Richard III” as Fincher had assured her she would become, as per Harvard Business Review. Despite her character’s importance, Wright discovered that her salary was less than her co-star’s. In response, she took a bold step to rectify the situation.
Wright insisted on equal pay, stating, “I want to be paid the same as Kevin.” She pointed out the rarity of a show where the male and female leads are equal, as they were in House of Cards. Anyone who has watched the series can vouch for the fact that Wright more than deserved equal pay. But even then, she had to lowkey threaten to go public with her rightful demands.
Wright told Marie Claire, “I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalised on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did.”
Kevin Spacey’s career took a hit due to sexual assault allegations, leading to his removal from the series. Ultimately, they chose to resume the show to satisfy the fans with closure and support their colleagues, and Robin Wright ended up becoming the lead for the final season of the show.