What happened to Johnny Depp? He used to be cool. Now though, it seems to be all about the money with him as the actor has reportedly exited the Whitey Bulger biopic, Black Mass, after he was asked by producers to cut his usual $20 million salary in half.
The announcement of Depp’s exit comes after Black Mass sold softly at Cannes, prompting producers to trim the budget. Part of that trim would have cut into Depp’s salary, and ol’ Johnny was having none of it. Exit Captain Jack.
Black Mass is to be the story of Whitey Bulger, the South Boston mob boss who wound up cozying up to an FBI agent in the hopes of stopping the encroachment of the Italian mafia into his territory. The deal went south and Whitey made the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List, only to be captured not that long ago. Depp was to be Bulger himself, while Joel Edgerton remains attached as the FBI agent John Connolly.
With Depp out, big questions arise for the future of Black Mass – like whether or not it’s going to actually get made. Edgerton is still signed on, but that might change with the budget cuts and Depp’s exit. Director Barry Levinson is likewise still connected to the project.
I was excited that Depp seemed to be stepping outside his comfort zone again. Black Mass looked like a serious opportunity to flex his acting muscles, rather than a chance to show off just how quirky he is. I miss the old Johnny Depp who did movies for the sake of it rather than the salary, and searched out interesting parts. He was cool before Disney got ahold of him and made him an A-lister. Black Mass sounded like a good vehicle for him. Ah, well. Maybe Transcendence will provide solace to my soul.
Johnny Depp can next be seen as Tonto in The Lone Ranger on July 3, 2013. I’m going to go watch Edward Scissorhands now.