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Michelle Williams was reluctant to do TV after 'Dawson's Creek': 'It felt like a stain'

Michelle Williams hesitated to return to TV. (Photo: Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Michelle Williams has Dawson's Creek to thank for launching her to stardom — and also for an awesome BFF — but the hit show came with a downside, too. In a sit-down with Vulture, the four-time Oscar nominee explained that she was reluctant to return to television because of how long it took her to shake her character, Jen Lindley.

"When I got out of television, it felt like a stain on you," she recalled. "It was hard work to erase it and to ask to be looked at in a different new way."

Another negative with being on a show like Dawson's Creek meant having no creative control.

"Scripts come at you and you have no say. You feel like an eternal child," she explained. Williams noted that while she was so grateful for the experience on Dawson's Creek, she wasn't eager to return to that feeling. "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 after 16 years, Williams did just that when she signed onto FX's Fosse/Verdon. What made the offer so enticing was not only equal pay, but what came along with that: power. Williams was promised she and co-star Sam Rockwell would be compensated evenly after her highly publicized controversy reshooting All the Money in the World. (She agreed to a small per diem while Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million.)

"They gave me the support I needed, and for them that took the form of putting their money where their mouth is," praised Williams. The actress noted that meant both money and respect. According to Vulture, FX paid "for the dance lessons she asked for, and opened the dance studios when she needed them, and even agreed to postpone production for a week when she and Rockwell insisted they needed more rehearsal."

"People were treating me like I had value, and so then I felt valued, and I displayed my value," Williams explained, noting how being fairly compensated means more than just money. She added that it's a means to buy "choice, freedom, peace, quiet, downtime."

Considering Fosse/Verdon resulted in Williams’s first Emmy nomination, it was a good choice all around.

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