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Comedy Actress Roundtable: Emmy Rossum, America Ferrera on Pay Standoffs and Casting by Bikini

Serious talk from comedy stars — also including Pamela Adlon, Minnie Driver, Kathryn Hahn and Issa Rae — about being asked to audition in a two-piece swimsuit ("We want to see how tight your ass is") and male nudity: "Get your balls out, boys!"

Emmy Rossum sat down at The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Comedy Actress Roundtable in late April just waiting to be asked about her recent salary standoff. Only four months earlier, the Shameless star, 30, had fought for — and ultimately received — salary parity with co-star William H. Macy, and now she knew her move would be fodder for discussion. “I was wondering how many questions we were going to wait till you were going to bring this up,” she said, pointedly, when the issue finally was raised. The discussion that ensued, however, became less about Rossum than about why such parity demands aren’t more common. Over the course of the candid hourlong conversation, America Ferrera, 33, acknowledged why she has, in the past, hesitated to ask for more; Pamela Adlon, 50, revealed what has happened when she’s tried; and Minnie Driver, 47, pressed everyone at the table — including Kathryn Hahn, 43, and Issa Rae, 32 — to consider what they could do to change the system once and for all. But before they got serious about their financial clout, these comedy stars also talked about sex scenes, male nudity and auditioning (or not) in a bikini.

This story first appeared in the June 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.