Johnny Depp exits Barry Levinson’s BLACK MASS

Johnny Depp won’t be playing Boston gangster Whitey Bulger after all; multiple sources report that the deal for Johnny to star in Barry Levinson’s Black Mass fell apart on Wednesday due to budget-cutting. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Johnny agreed to play the role at his usual quote of $20 million, but when the producers “were looking to trim the budget, in the high $60 million range,” Johnny was asked to cut his salary in half, “and the actor and his reps at UTA refused.” A Black Mass producer is disputing a widely-reported media claim that sales of the project at Cannes were “on the soft side,” necessitating the budget cuts, claiming instead that the sales “were on target and that most territories were sold.”

Black Mass was set to begin shooting on August 5, 2013 in Boston; now it appears that Johnny will segue from Wally Pfister’s Transcendence (due to shoot into July) into Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods.

The Zone thanks Lou Lou 63 and Emma for breaking the news; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Hollywood Reporter article is available HERE.

KON-TIKI’s Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg to direct PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 5

The Kon-Tiki directing team of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg will take the helm for Pirates of the Caribbean 5! Deadline Hollywood reports that Disney, Johnny Depp (who will return as Captain Jack Sparrow) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer “have all signed off on the choice, and negotiations are underway on a deal that will make quickly. The duo will come aboard to prep the massive movie for a late year or early January start.”

Rønning and Sandberg have a proven track record for dealing with the complications that ensue when a film shoots on water; their Kon-Tiki, a recreation of Thor Heyerdal’s epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsa wood raft in 1947, received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Also, as Deadline’s Mike Fleming notes, “They made a lot of movie with a little money.” That ability to combine fiscal prudence with critical and popular success will endear the directing duo to producers everywhere.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5, with a script by Jeff Nathanson, is scheduled for release on July 10, 2015.

The Zone thanks Lou Lou 63 for breaking the news; you can read more about Pirates of the Caribbean 5 on the Zone’s News & Views forum.
The Deadline Hollywood article is available HERE.