Last month, it was reported Johnny Depp had walked off the highly anticipated mob biopic “Black Mass” after he was asked to take a 50% pay cut from his usual $20 million fee — leaving his take still at a hefty $10 million.
But now, The Hollywood Reporter is citing several sources — some who say Depp is still set to star in the film and others who say he’s no longer attached — giving an inside look into the wheeling and dealing that actually went down.
A source at Cross Creek, the film’s financiers, explains to THR:
“Depp and [director] Levinson’s deals included language that required the budget of the film to top off at $50 million. When the budget came in at $63 million, Cross Creek asked all of the film’s above-the-line talent, including co-star Joel Edgerton to slash their salaries to make up the $13 million.”
While Depp would have gotten a sizable paycheck, apparently it’s a no-no to ask an A-list star to take a pay cut for their craft.
“This situation is absurd,” a source tells THR. “You would never have a star of Depp’s magnitude and not have all of the deal’s preconditions buttoned down before taking it to market. Either his team screwed up and left him exposed or Cross Creek is simply reneging on its deal.”
“Someone is suing someone at the end of this,” adds the source.
Apparently Depp is known to pay cuts for passion projects, as he is with Disney’s upcoming “Into the Woods” for which he’ll make less than a million upfront.
But “The second they asked him to take a cut, that was a mistake,” says another source with knowledge of the “Black Mass” situation, which Depp’s agent at UTA thought was a done deal. “They overplayed their hand.”
Cross Creek has reportedly approached Tom Cruise about the project, but ultimately if they “can’t find a way to keep Depp on the project, it would create a huge headache.”
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