Currently filming Wally Pfister‘s Transcendence, we hoped mega-star Johnny Depp would be able to sneak in one more promising project before succumbing to Pirates of the Caribbean 5, but it looks like that won’t be the case. According to THR, Depp has exited the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass from director Barry Levinson. The reason?

The A-lister wouldn’t be getting his usual payday of $20 million thanks to soft pre-sales at the Cannes marketplace. Due to this, producers are planning to cut the $60 million budget, which means Depp was looking at a payday of a measly $10 million. The filmmakers reportedly still want to move ahead with another actor, but we’ll have to wait and see if Joel Edgerton is still in the picture.

Back to projects Depp will do if his life depended on it (due to the rumor that he’d be netting upwards of $90 million for his next role as Jack Sparrow), directors have been set for the 5th Pirates outing. After being in contention, the Oscar-nominated team behind Kon-TikiJoachim Rønning and Espen Sandber, have signed for the gig. We were major fans of their Norwegian high seas adventure and while this instills a sliver of hope for this franchise, we were hoping this duo would perhaps jump into something more promising in Hollywood.

With Pirates production kicking off by the end of the year, or early 2014 at the latest in order to make the summer 2015 bow, the Kon-Tiki pair have handed off a project they were developing to another director. Spectral, described as a supernatural Black Hawk Down will now be helmed by newcomer Nic Mathieu and one can check back as we get more details.

What do you think of Depp exiting Black Mass? Are the Pirates 5 directors a good fit?

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