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.”