As one of Hollywood's highest-paid and most popular actors, Johnny Depp knows the value of his name and talent.
The Lone Ranger star has officially departed Black Mass, a biopic on Boston mobster Whitey Bulger that Barry Levinson is set to direct, after producers reportedly asked him to drastically reduce his standard $20-million-per-picture fee.
Sources told the The Hollywood Reporter that all was looking good for Black Mass to be Depp's next starring vehicle once he's finished shooting the sci-fi epic Transcendence. But producers hit a snag when foreign presales at the Cannes Film Festival were soft, necessitating a lower budget than the estimated $65 million-plus territory they were aiming for.
The report claims the 49-year-old actor was asked to acquiesce to a pay cut—a cut of half Depp's normal salary, according to the report—but after conferring with his agents at UTA, Depp refused and bowed out.
Reps for the actor were unavailable for comment.
Black Mass, which costars Joel Edgerton as a disgraced FBI agent, is due to roll cameras later this year.
Depp meanwhile next hits the big screen as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, which rides into theaters on July 3.