Michelle Williams tells Vulture that she felt trapped after the mega-success of Dawson’s Creek.
The 38-year-old explained: “When I got out of television, it felt like a stain on you. It was hard work to erase it and to ask to be looked at in a different new way.”
So returning to the small screen took some doing. Williams explains: “I was afraid of putting myself in a position where I was going to commit to something and then eventually be asked to do something that I didn’t want to do.”
But the role of Gwen Vernon was too juicy to resist. She says: “‘Vernon’s nature is so opposite of mine. And I’m going to have to expand myself as a human being in order to play her.'”
She had no clue, she said, that a scene as Verdon in FX’s Fosse/Verdon (she wipes a tear from her cheek by wiping her left, then her right cheek, then circling her head to wipe her left cheek again) became a viral sensation.
She says: “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a meme before.”
And after the equal pay scandal in which it was revealed that she was paid pocket change for reshoots of All the Money in the World, while costar Mark Walhberg pocketed $1.5 million for the same amount of work (which he later donated to Time’s Up), FX promised her and costar Sam Rockwell equal pay.
Williams says: “They gave me the support I needed, and for them that took the form of putting their money where their mouth is. People were treating me like I had value, and so then I felt valued, and I displayed my value.”