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Chadwick Boseman took pay cut to boost Sienna Miller's salary on '21 Bridges'

"I didn't know whether or not to tell this story, and I haven't yet. But I am going to tell it, because I think it's a testament to who he was," the actress said.
Image: Today - Season 68
Chadwick Boseman and Sienna Miller appear on NBC's "TODAY" show on Nov. 19, 2019.Nathan Congleton / NBC

Chadwick Boseman donated part of his salary for the action thriller "21 Bridges" to increase Sienna Miller's compensation for the film, the actress revealed in a new interview with the British entertainment magazine Empire.

Miller spoke to the magazine for a special issue honoring Boseman, who died Aug. 28 after a private four-year battle with colon cancer.

"I didn't know whether or not to tell this story, and I haven't yet. But I am going to tell it, because I think it's a testament to who he was," Miller told Empire.

Boseman, who co-produced "21 Bridges," was instrumental in hiring Miller for the role of Frankie Burns, a New York City narcotics detective, the actress said. But he went even further, advocating for his co-star to receive a bigger salary for joining the production.

"This was a pretty big-budget film, and I know that everybody understands about the pay disparity in Hollywood, but I asked for a number that the studio wouldn't get to," Miller said. "And because I was hesitant to go back to work and my daughter was starting school and it was an inconvenient time, I said, 'I'll do it if I'm compensated in the right way.'

"Chadwick ended up donating some of his salary to get me to the number that I had asked for. He said that that was what I deserved to be paid."

Miller, known for her roles in the action films "Layer Cake" and "American Sniper," said that Boseman's advocacy on her behalf was "the most astounding thing that I've experienced" in the entertainment industry.

"That kind of thing just doesn't happen. He said, 'You're getting paid what you deserve, and what you're worth.' It's just unfathomable to imagine another man in that town behaving that graciously or respectfully.

"In the aftermath of this I've told other male actor friends of mine that story and they all go very very quiet and go home and probably have to sit and think about things for a while. But there was no showiness, it was, 'Of course I'll get you to that number, because that's what you should be paid.'"

In recent years, the #MeToo and Time's Up movements have helped put a spotlight on the gender pay gap in Hollywood, among other systemic issues in the film industry.

Three economists recently determined that male Hollywood stars earn $1.1 million more per film than female co-stars of comparable experience, according to The Guardian.

In early 2018, the gender pay gap on Ridley Scott's thriller "All the Money in the World" made national headlines.

USA Today reported that reshoots of the movie earned Mark Wahlberg an additional $1.5 million, while his female co-star Michelle Williams received an $80 per diem — adding up to less than $1,000.

Wahlberg later donated his entire reshoot fee to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.