Sienna Miller will always remember late actor Chadwick Boseman for one of his final acts: giving up some of his own salary so she could have equitable pay on the 2019 movie they did together, 21 Bridges.
In a new interview with Porter, Miller elaborated on the importance of Boseman’s move, which followed her requested salary being rejected, and how it contributed to her increasing confidence in her career.
“It’s about self-respect,” Miller said. “An act of generosity like that is validating. And maybe I shouldn’t look for validation from my peers, but I do. For me, it’s about relearning how to stand up for yourself. Ultimately, I’m such a pleaser. I want everybody to have a good experience; I don’t want to be difficult.”
In fact, Miller said she’s rarely requested the salary she thinks she deserves. She had come up with the number this time by looking at her shooting schedule as well as the required publicity.
“As the woman, you’re lent on so heavily for promotion in a way that men often aren’t. What you wear on a red carpet; how much press you have to do,” Miller said. “They are going to get their money’s worth.”
Besides, her standards are higher now. She has an 8-year-old daughter with actor ex Tom Sturridge and she has a “demon lawyer” who’s explained to her just how much she’s worth. For example, she now realizes she was “alarmingly underpaid” for her work in American Sniper. No more.
“I’m pretty hardcore these days. If you have to move location for filming — which men have to do, but more often than not their wives stay home with the kids — when you’re a single mother shooting, I have to bring my child, find a school, find childcare,” Miller said. “Who pays for that? Why would I not be more compensated as a result for having to uproot my entire family in order to work? That’s a battle. Her father is amazing, I’m not saying I’m on my own, but as a working mother, I can’t be away from my kid.”
Miller explained that her confidence is growing in other areas, too. She pointed to an experience she had during the first week of filming on last year’s Showtime series The Loudest Voice, which co-starred Russell Crowe.
“We had shot a scene and then it was just too time consuming to [apply full prosthetics for the next]. Everybody was trying to get me to shoot without it,” Miller said. “I was like, I can’t play this part without them. We agreed to this. I was on the phone to my agents. I was shaking and saying, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I’d never been so terrified in my life. [My agents] said, ‘Don’t leave your trailer. Refuse to shoot.’ It was an incredibly empowering move and I got what I wanted. I look back and know that wouldn’t have happened to Russell. That wouldn’t have happened to men.”
Like Boseman had been, Crowe was supportive.
“Russell loved it,” Miller said. “He was like, high five. ‘You stand up for yourself.’”
Miller noted that she’s sometimes felt “a bit like an imposter” over the course of her career, and it hasn’t been helped by the tabloid attention she’s gotten for her personal relationships with the likes of Jude Law and Balthazar Getty. With her acting credits stretching back nearly 20 years now, she’s growing more confident in herself. She’s becoming bolder.
“The more you practice the uncomfortable acts of standing up for yourself, the more confidence and self-worth you cultivate. I’m trying to be assertive,” Miller said. “That might mean having difficult conversations and advocating for yourself in a way that just doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m trying.”
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