Johnny Depp backs out of 'Black Mass'

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It's Hollywood 101. Johnny Depp has a number. If you can't match that number, he won't star in your movie. Here endeth the lesson.

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 asked him to reduce his standard $20-million-per-picture fee, People reports.

Sources told the The Hollywood Reporter that all was looking good for "Black Mass" to be Mr. 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.

Consequently, they asked the 49-year-old thespian to take one for the team and acquiesce to a pay cut, but after a little powwow with his agents at UTA, Mr. Depp refused and bowed out.

Reps for the actor were unavailable for comment.

"Black Mass," which co-stars Joel Edgerton as a disgraced FBI agent, is due to begin filming later this year.

Mr. Depp meanwhile next hits the big screen as Tonto in "The Lone Ranger," which rides into theaters on July 3.



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