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“I might get into trouble for [saying this], depends on who’s watching,” said actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas during her conversation with Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke at the kickoff of the South by Southwest Film Festival on Friday.
“I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for now 22 years, and I have done about almost 70-plus features and two TV shows,” Jonas continued. “But when I did Citadel, it was the first time in my career that I had pay parity.”
Citadel is Prime Video’s upcoming big-budget, globe-trotting spy thriller produced by the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Endgame) and showrunner David Weil (Hunters), and stars Richard Madden (Bodyguard) along with Chopra Jonas.
“I’m laughing about this, but it’s kind of nuts,” she added. “I put in the same amount of investment and work, but I get paid much less. But the ease in which Amazon Studios said, ‘That’s what you deserve, you are co-leads, that’s just fair,’ and I was like, ‘You’re right, it’s fair.’ And I wonder: Did that happen because there are very few female decision-makers in Hollywood? Would that have been a different conversation if a woman didn’t make that decision? Those are not conversations that happened very easily.”
Salke replied that she can’t speak to what would have happened if she wasn’t in charge, yet praised her executive team. “I have great male and female allies who are at our company,” she said.
During the Q&A portion, Jonas also told an anecdote about being body-shamed by an unidentified person before the festival.
“I’ve been told many things that are difficult to hear,” she said. “I arrive feeling crappy because somebody told me yesterday I wasn’t ‘sample sized.’ 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 the fact I’m not sample-sized and that that’s a problem, apparently. Most of us are not. ‘Sample-sized’ is a size 2.”
Jonas then asked the audience: “Who’s a size 2? … I don’t see a lot of hands.”
The duo also debuted a new clip from Citadel (below).
“It’s not confusing, it’s incredibly entertaining, it’s a really big idea,” Salke said of the show.
“I just think the social experiment of having such an audacious plan was very exciting,” Jonas added. “[My character] Nadia is a complex woman. She bears the weight of the world — as most women do. She doesn’t like to show her real feelings and weaknesses. She’s the toughest one in the room. She’s always the one making decisions, making sure everyone gets home safe. And then you see her vulnerabilities when she’s alone, and I felt the burden of her character, it was just so much fun for me to chew into.”
Citadel‘s official description reads: “Eight years ago, Citadel fell. The independent global spy agency — tasked to uphold the safety and security of all people — was destroyed by operatives of Manticore, a powerful syndicate manipulating the world from the shadows. With Citadel’s fall, elite agents Mason Kane (Madden) and Nadia Sinh (Jonas) had their memories wiped as they narrowly escaped with their lives. They’ve remained hidden ever since, building new lives under new identities, unaware of their pasts. Until one night, when Mason is tracked down by his former Citadel colleague, Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci), who desperately needs his help to prevent Manticore from establishing a new world order. Mason seeks out his former partner, Nadia, and the two spies embark on a mission that takes them around the world in an effort to stop Manticore, all while contending with a relationship built on secrets, lies, and a dangerous-yet-undying love.”
The series premieres on Prime Video April 28, debuting with two episodes, followed by a new episode released weekly on Fridays.
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