Benedict Cumberbatch won't do films if female co-stars aren't paid fairly

Avengers star Benedict Cumberbatch says from now on, he'll only sign up for work in which his female co-star is being paid at least as much as he is.

"Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism," he told Radio Times this week.

"Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: 'If she's not paid the same as the men, I'm not doing it.'"

He said he's one of only two men at his production company, which is committed to developing more female-focused projects.

"Our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster. If it's centred around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female."

He pointed to the recent success of Black Panther as proof the audience wants more diverse entertainment.

"The audience is there," he told Radio Times. "It's about facilitating platforms for talent. If you do that, the combination is combustible - world-beating. That's what we want to do."

If that means men have to play eye-candy, he's keen.

"If it's good enough for Chris Pine [in Wonder Woman], it's good enough for Benedict Cumberbatch."

Black Panther is already the ninth-highest grossing film in Hollywood history. Avengers: Infinity War, which has just opened, is already in 11th place.