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Johnny Depp May Star In 'Black Mass' After All, But Everything Is Complicated

by Kevin Jagernauth
June 5, 2013 9:20 AM
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Last week, it was reported that Johnny Depp was bailing on the Whitey Bulger gangster flick "Black Mass," after he refused to take a 50% paycut from his usual asking price of $20 million, to the hardly liveable amount of $10 million. But as these things usually go, that's hardly the full story or even the end of the story, as the actor has a "a 95 percent chance" of returning to the project. Or not at all. You see, things are pretty complicated...

THR has dug into what's actually going on, and you can read all the ins and outs over there, but essentially it's this: Cross Creek Pictures says Depp signed for the movie and a $20 million payday, contingent on the movie to come in with a budget of $50 million. But when the figure turned out to be $63 million, they asked everyone involved -- including director Barry Levinson and co-star Joel Edgerton -- to take pay cuts to close the gap, essentially forcing Depp to renegotiate his contract.

The other story is that everyone is baffled by Depp's departure, the project as we know it is dead, and there will be a messy situation to clean up since "Black Mass" has already pre-sold overseas at the Berlin and Cannes markets.

Bottom line? The window is closing on Depp returning, as the movie has to get in front of cameras soon -- with him or someone else -- as Levinson is already committed to shoot "The Cursed Piano" in early 2014. Depending on the source, a crew remains in Boston ready to go....or not...but perhaps this quote says it all: “This situation is absurd. 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.”

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More: Johnny Depp, Black Mass

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  • rohit | June 5, 2013 9:09 PMReply

  • Yousef | June 5, 2013 8:52 PMReply

    "after he refused to take a 50% paycut from his usual asking price of $20 million"

    Umm , i think you better get your facts right rather than just trying to make depp looks bad because they offered him from the beggining $20 plus they were selling the project with his name before when he was even commit to them! and then they ask him to cut the salry they offered?

  • Melman | June 5, 2013 11:13 AMReply

    In THR says Depp is doing "Into the Woods" for Rob Marshall, for less than a million of upfront pay!...probably that's why the producers of this movie are trying to force him to a pay cut. If he can do a movie for less than a million, why he can't take half of the money for this one? But there is the problem that they approached him offering 20 million, sell the movie with his name, etc, etc...Probably Rob Marshall approached him since the beginning offering the role and saying that they don't have too much money, not forcing him to take a pay cut

  • A Guy Named Joe | June 5, 2013 9:59 AMReply

    "Depp signed for the movie and a $20 million payday, contingent on the movie to come in with a budget of $50 million. But when the figure turned out to be $63 million..."

    You might want to edit these numbers so that they make sense.

  • really? | June 6, 2013 2:00 PM

    These numbers tell the whole story - if they offered Depp $20mil to be in their $50mil movie, they were launching a ship that didn't float!
    Pay a star $20mil, add the cost of story rights, screenplay, directors fees, producer fees, supporting cast, etc and you have an ATL of $35mil. Factor bond fee and contingency and you have less than $10mil left to actually shoot the movie. Do they think that actually was gonna work?
    Someone should have lent them a calculator before they got in over their heads.

  • A guy named joe | June 5, 2013 10:38 AM

    Oops... You (and the author) are correct!

  • Christopher | June 5, 2013 10:30 AM

    It does make sense. They don't have $63 million dollars, so they're looking to cut it down to $50 million starting with the salaries...

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