Priyanka Chopra Jonas Says ‘The Citadel’ Is the First Time She’s Equally Paid with a Male Co-star

Priyanka Chopra Jonas has been acting for two decades, but she says her new Amazon Prime Video series Citadel marks the first time she’s had pay parity with a male co-star. Chopra Jonas stars with Richard Madden in the new series, which starts next month.

Chopra Jonas was at the South by Southwest festival in Austin in a keynote conversation with Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke about her upcoming action spy series for the streamer. She said on stage that she wonders if the pay parity stems from the fact that Amazon Studios is led by a woman.

More from Variety

“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for 22 years now and I’ve done about 70-plus features,” she said. “I’ve done two TV shows. But when I did The Citadel, it was the first time in my career that I had equal pay with a fellow actor. For the first time in 22 years. And I wonder if that happened?

“It’s kind of crazy, I put the same amount of time into work that I put into the same amount of investment and work, but I get paid a lot less,” she continued. “So I want to talk a little bit about the issues that women have in entertainment, the glass ceilings that we have to work a lot harder to break down, whether it’s something as real as your salary, whether it’s something as real as taking of decisions, women in front of the camera and behind the camera and in high positions.

Chopra Jonas said she was curious why it would take a female CEO like Salke at Amazon to make that happen.

“For me, there was just no question that it was absolutely the right thing to do,” Salke said. “Whether that would have happened or not if I was there, I can’t speak to that. I have great male and female allies who are in our company, who have worked for me and with me, who now know how to make space and stop and think and do instinct. I see that happening, I see that change, and I find it really encouraging and inspiring.”

The Citadel is the start of a franchise that will include spin-off series produced in local markets – with local stars and in local languages ​​- around the world. (Spin-off series set in Italy and India are already in development.) Chopra-Jonas told the Austin crowd that she’s been waiting for this moment her whole life.

“I have always wanted to be a part of the entertainment in English, but I just never saw the Hindi medium being translated,” she said. But then “streamers came in and people from all over the world watch entertainment from all over the world. I watched Iranian shows I watched Korean shows. I’ve seen shows from all over the world. Italian shows. French. Embracing the opportunity to watch entertainment with subtitles is such a joy for me.”

Chopra Jonas shared her memories of the moment TV went global: Her mother would disappear for hours to binge on Korean dramas in her bedroom. “I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And she’d say, ‘I’m going to Korea’ – and she’d be gone for hours.”

She added, “I feel like in America, we talk about diversity and inclusion, we always talk about what diversity looks like and how everyone should be viewed. But I think true global diversity matters too. Everyone needs to be heard too. It’s not just about the way you look in entertainment. Diversity is about how you sound – the words that come out of your mouth, the language you use. The remark drew wide applause from the audience.

Salke said the idea for The Citadel came from a brainstorming session to make a global series with interconnected parts; she partnered with AGBO, the production company created by Joe and Anthony Russo, to produce the show. “It was really the thing that kept me up at night,” she said. “A big show that attracts the attention of a world audience. The first thing we did after the Russo family was to talk to some of our most prolific creatives in India. We create our biggest hits there and also in Italy and we really get them excited about the idea.”

During their wide-ranging conversation, Salke and Chopra Jonas also discussed work-life balance, a matter Salke described as her “New Year’s resolution.” Chopra Jonas said: “I think our culture and our society needs to talk a little bit about mental health. We need to normalize the fact that the brain is an organ like everything else in your body. Your stomach hurts, you call the doctor… But nobody thinks about what’s going on in our minds when our minds control literally everything we do.”

Chopra Jonas noted that just yesterday she was struck by an insensitive comment someone made about her body. “I came here feeling sick because someone told me yesterday that I’m not ‘sample size.’ I was hurt and I discussed it with my family and I cried to my husband and my team and I felt really bad about not being in the sample. Most of us are not… I have had times where I may have said something and it was misinterpreted. And you see people saying the meanest and nastiest things not only about me, but also about my child, about my family members. I can’t explain to you what it feels like to sit on your couch and just feel the world coming at you because people have forgotten that you’re human.

Chopra Jonas has a first-look deal with Amazon Studios through her Purple Pebble tile. Salke hinted that a major casting announcement is coming for one of Purple Pebble’s projects. “We have two writers’ rooms for two different series and multiple movies we’re developing that are completely different,” she said. “It’s very exciting as an actor as well. I’ve never produced anything starring me before, but I’m working on it [Amazon] for the first time on several vehicles for myself.’

The Citadel focuses on an independent global spy agency that falls after being destroyed by a powerful syndicate. Elite agents Mason Cain (Richard Madden) and Nadia Sin (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) have been in hiding ever since, with their memory wiped and living under new identities. But when another former Citadel colleague, Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci), finds them, they set out to make things right.

Madden, Chopra Jonas and Tucci star alongside Leslie Manville as Dahlia Archer, Osi Ikile as Carter Spence, Ashley Cummings as Abby Conroy, Roland Moller as Anders Sille and Davik Sille and Kaolin Springol as Hendrix Conroy.

The Citadel is executive produced by the Russo Brothers, Mike LaRocca, Angela Russo-Oststott and Scott Nemes for AGBO, with David Weil serving as showrunner and executive producer. Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg are executive producers for Midnight Radio. Newton Thomas Siegel and Patrick Moran also executive produce.

Here’s a new look at the series in a clip shown at SXSW:

The best of the variety

Sign up for the Variety newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *