Johnny Depp has dropped out of Black Mass, the notorious gangster Whitey Bulger biopic, after being asked to take a $10 million pay cut.
Johnny Depp, 50, was to have been paid $20 million to star in Black Mass which told the story of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger.
But after producers shopped the film to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival in France and failed to attract a large number of bids they asked Johnny Depp to drop his usual $20 million fee.
The actor refused to agree to the paycut – and has walked away from the production.
Producers of the film to be directed by Hollywood veteran Barry Levinson had wanted to trim their budget down to $60 million.
Johnny Depp has dropped out of Black Mass, the notorious gangster Whitey Bulger biopic, after being asked to take a $10 million pay cut
According to the Hollywood Reporter pre-sales of the film at Cannes had been “soft”.
Whitey Bulger was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for over 10 years and wanted for murder.
He was captured in June of 2011 after his girlfriend was spotted visiting a beauty salon.
The FBI had placed adverts in beauty magazines asking people to be on the lookout for Whitey Bulger, 83 and his girlfriend Catherine Greig.
The pair were arrested in California.
Whitey Bulger was wanted for the murder of at least ten people and was said to be the basis for the Jack Nicholson character in the film The Departed.
Johnny Depp, one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, will next be seen in The Lone Ranger which opens in July. He plays Tonto, the native American partner of the Lone Ranger.
The days of actors getting multi-million dollar salaries are over, says Brad Pitt during a recent interview.
“Yeah, that thing died,” Brad Pitt laughed when asked if it was possible for stars to still command a price tag upwards of $10 million per movie.
“That arithmetic doesn’t really work right now… that deal’s not flying these days.”
Brad Pitt has been a familiar fixture on lists detailing the highest paid actors.
Brad Pitt says the days of actors getting multi-million dollar salaries are over
The most recent Forbes list for 2012 was topped by Tom Cruise, with an estimated yearly salary of $75 million.
Meanwhile Brad Pitt is thought to have earned $25 million.
As for what state Hollywood is in, in general, Brad Pitt concedes: “It’s a really interesting time.
“A lot of the studios have been challenged because of the economic downturn as well so they’ve been betting on bigger, more tent pole kinds of things.
“At the same time that opens up a vacuum for really interesting new film makers to come in.”
So-called “tent pole” films take the biggest budgets but their profits are expected to prop up other movies for the major studios.
Brad Pitt’s acting work over the past few years has ranged from the Oscar nominated Moneyball, to the children’s animation Happy Feet 2 and most recently the crime thriller Killing Them Softly.
“You take the roles for the roles and you’ve just got to balance economics like everyone does,” Brad Pitt says.
There are still ways actors can rake in millions from a movie though, if they agree a smaller upfront salary in exchange for a cut of the eventual profits.
That model of course only works if the movie in question is a big hit at the box office.
Jude Law says that he’s never demanded a $20 million pay cheque: “No, not really, that’s never been my approach.”
Currently on screen in Anna Karenina, Jude Law concedes he has made salary demands in the past, but not in the way you may assume.
“There are certain films the only way to make them go away was just keep raising the fee, and eventually they go <<Oh, we can’t pay you that much!>> and then they go away.”