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Johnny Depp Doesn't Work For Less Than $20 Million, Exits Gangster Flick 'Black Mass'

by Kevin Jagernauth
May 30, 2013 9:16 AM
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According to the always reliable source known as The Internet, Johnny Depp's net worth is in the ballpark of $350 million. Whatever the actual figure is, dude has money to spare and then some, and hell, he owns his own private island in the Bahamas. They say getting rich is easy, but staying rich is hard, and for Depp, that means you have to stick to your principles. So if your fee is $20 million, you don't dare cut it just because some indie movie is having a bit of trouble getting financing together.

And that's the case of the Whitey Bulger biopic "Black Mass," as the Barry Levinson film headed to Cannes to try and drum up sales in advance of its planned shoot this summer, just to find out that not many people were interested in buying a non-Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp movie. Perhaps that's because audiences don't care anymore about a non-Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp movie, as his last indie flick, "The Rum Diary," took in only a paltry $23 million. Either way, given the reception in Cannes, producers of "Black Mass" were trying to find ways to shrink the already small $60 million budget, and asked Depp if he would reduce his $20 million salary by half. (Quick math: Depp's salary was a third of the budget). He refused and bailed on the movie altogether. Depp cannot live on $10 million. (In another, purely coincidental news, "Pirates Of The Caribbean 5" just got some new directors).

So now, the film is looking for a new lead actor, and hoping to retain Joel Edgerton who signed up a couple of weeks ago. All this to say, this probably good news for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who have been developing their own Whitey Bulger movie. Getting Depp out of the way as competition will certainly help those efforts, and we'll see if "Black Mass" can even survive with a major A-list star walking away. [THR]

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  • Ellen | July 7, 2013 6:54 PMReply

    what an asshole

  • Tom | July 20, 2014 10:18 PM

    What an asshole YOU are for saying that he is an asshole for something that you know nothing about.

  • Chris | June 2, 2013 8:26 PMReply

    When you start talking "condescending" and "pompous," look no further than Damon & Affleck. Only reason I'd buy a ticket to anything they were in would be if Depp were in it. And I'm glad he's passed on Black Mass, especially since they're trying to set him up to be the fall guy. Bulger deserved LESS attention, not more.

  • Sierra | May 31, 2013 11:00 PMReply

    When he signed on to do Charlie and the Chocolate factory , he tried to get paid in red gummy bears , am I really suppose to believe he walked away from this movie because of a pay-cut ?

  • Janice | May 31, 2013 8:19 PMReply

    None of this "news" has been validated. The internet spreads rumors without bothering to see if there is any truth involved. They print the rumor and the hate comments commence. Johnny Depp has done plenty of films for practically nothing. Whatever the reason he left this project, I doubt the details have been thrown out for the gossip sites, or, if you want to get technical, "movie sites." It would be so nice if these sites would do more than quote The Hollywood Reporter,, which is only a step about gossip tabloids.

  • CC | July 20, 2014 10:24 PM

    @Epiphany Yeah right because he's never done movies without "mascara" before..

    Watch more movies of him other than POTC!

  • TOM | July 20, 2014 10:23 PM

    @Well actually Actually, no, he still does films for nothing and he still takes paycuts.

    He did Tusk (2014) and Lucky Them (2013) for nothing as a favor to his friends. He took paycuts for The Lone Ranger (2013) and The Rum Diary to get them made. He also put a lot of his own money on them both.

  • Well actually | June 7, 2013 7:25 PM

    John USED TO do films for next to nothing, but alas those salad days are long gone.

  • Epiphany | May 31, 2013 10:12 PM

    I heard Johnny backed out because the wouldn't let him wear mascara.

  • Solution | May 30, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    Maybe Depp doesn't want to work with Joel Egerton. Getting along well with the co-star is important. Fire Edgerton's ass and beg Depp. It's the only way to save the movie.

  • tom | July 20, 2014 10:11 PM


  • TOM | July 20, 2014 10:11 PM

    @KAL What ego does depp have? He's the most egoless person you'll ever meet. Depp has never changed, he only got better as he's aged. And I prefer him no over his "former self".

  • Kal | May 30, 2013 7:34 PM

    Lol, what? First off, don't say crap you can't back up. I doubt it has anything to do with Edgerton and even if it was, I would rather take Edgerton's talent over Depp's ego. There is always another A-lister willing to do this type of role. Depp is just a shell of his former self anyways.

  • Hawk | May 30, 2013 2:51 PMReply

    I hope that with this decision they advance a little faster with the Pirates film.

  • cro | May 31, 2013 2:05 PM

    First off, don't say crap you can't back up.

    Then you say your opinion without anything to back it up. LMAO! Yes the original comment was laughable at best, but you did the exact same thing.

  • Mainly minor | May 30, 2013 2:35 PMReply

    He can't sell a movie without whiteface, and everyone's waiting for the Affleck &Damon project anyway. No loss to the movie going public.

  • yousef | May 30, 2013 10:37 AMReply

    why the hate for depp,Op? i don't think the whole thing was about the salery

  • Tom | July 20, 2014 10:06 PM

    @Nathan A condescending snob? Johnny Depp a condescending snob??? He's so, so far from that, man! He's the nicest actor you'll ever meet in Hollywood and saying that he's a condescending snob is just not fair.

    He is not only concerned with money and the fact that he took lots of pay cuts and did some movies for free and put his own money on some movies just proves that.

  • Nathan | May 30, 2013 11:57 PM

    He's a condescending snob, who is only concerned with money and throws away his talent making shitty, throwaway movies.

  • Todd | May 30, 2013 10:11 AMReply

    Depp's recent reported salaries (IMDB):

    Rum Diary: $15 Mill.
    Rango: $7.5 Mill.
    The Tourist: $20 Mill.
    Charlie and the Choc. Factory: $18 Mill.
    Alice in Wonderland: $50 Mill. (assume that includes percentage)
    POC: On Stranger Tides: $55.5 Mill. (same)

  • RNL | May 30, 2013 12:12 PM

    Scratch "Rango" off the list, because nobody gets paid the same for voice work as they do for an onscreen performance. So he won't get out of bed for less than $15M.

  • Flo B | May 30, 2013 9:50 AMReply

    I don't believe the money thing at all. If Johnny really liked the role he would do it. The more I read about Bulger the more I really don't care for him he is a real piece of work.

  • droop | May 30, 2013 2:15 PM

    you had to read up on the guy to realize he's not a good person? and your point is that there should only be made movies about admirable people? doesn't the fact that he is a real piece of work suggest that he would be a great protagonist? you seem dumb

  • Mohammed | May 30, 2013 9:47 AMReply

    I don't get the stupidity of these producers. It isn't Depp's problem that they advertise that they can finance the thing when they can't. I'm almost certain Depp doesn't always work for 20 million. I'm almost certain some of the issues has to do with the movie itself, rather than about the money.

    I look forward to Affleck and Damons version. But that film is at least beyond 2015, perhaps even as far away as 2016.

  • Lou | May 30, 2013 9:28 AMReply

    Good news. I'd rather see an Affleck/Damon version of the Bulger story.

  • Yousef | July 20, 2014 9:08 PM

    Too bad you are not getting that!

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