The 49-year-old global superstar Johnny Depp and his reps apparently were not satisfied with soft sales of the Black Mass at the Cannes Film Festival.
Cross Creek and Exclusive Media producers were looking to trim the budget and Depp was asked to take half, but staying rich is hard, which means if your fee is $20 million, you don’t dare cut it.
It is unclear how Depp’s exit will affect the involvement of Joel Edgerton, who signed up a couple of weeks ago to play a disgraced FBI agent John Connolly in the Whitey Bulger biopic from director Barry Levinson (Rain Man).
Depp, who will next be seen in The Lone Ranger is currently in production on Wally Pfister’s sci-fi drama Transcendence and Black Mass was to have been Depp’s follow-up to Transcendence before succumbing to Pirates of the Caribbean 5 that just got some new directors.
Black Mass production is meant to start this summer, but since Depp cannot live on $10 million the film is hoping to retain Edgerton and is looking for a new lead actor.
Based on the New York Times bestselling 2001 non-fiction book of the same name by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, the upcoming flick centers on the relationship between FBI agent Connolly and Boston mob kingpin Bulger.