Roundtable: 6 Top Producers on 'Entourage' Salaries, 'Fifty Shades' Backlash and Appeasing Directors
Mike, you're dealing with this on Fifty Shades of Grey. How much of that noise has seeped into the process? You had a very public exit by an actor, Charlie Hunnam.
DE LUCA: I didn't feel pressure because we had a possible replacement in place before the thing actually went down. It's just called being prepared. But I am on Twitter constantly. I am a masochist. I'm into the fandom, so I was aware of what was coming the first time around, when Charlie Hunnam wasn't what most readers pictured. But he was so awesome in this audition that he did with Dakota Johnson, and he really wanted to play that character, and we're not making the movie based on Twitter. We thought we'd get there with him, and then when we couldn't, we anticipated that the new guy, Jamie Dornan, was going to be more of what the fans conjured in their imaginations.
HEYMAN: But, really, is there a singular vision of who that character is?
DE LUCA: He looks a lot like Mark Wahlberg.
WAHLBERG: I almost fired my agent Ari [Emanuel] over [Fifty Shades] -- not because I wanted to play the part. We were aware of the book very early on, and we were close to securing the rights, and then we get into this bidding war. We were so close to having [it]. That was one of the few times I was going to fire Ari.
DE LUCA: I mean, the woman wrote a fantasy: a square-jawed, tall, broad-shouldered, genius, billionaire Adonis ...
GARDNER: So, Mark. (Laughter.)
WAHLBERG: No, sounds like Brad Pitt to me.
DE LUCA: It's tough to be literal. Do you remember the James Bond outcry? "Oh, Daniel Craig's blond! How could you cast a blond James Bond?"
ROVEN: When we cast Heath Ledger, it was like, "What? Heath Ledger? What, as the Joker? Are you kidding me?"
When he died, did you have meetings to discuss strategy?
DE LUCA: Well, way to bring us down.
ROVEN: There are a lot of meetings that go on when there's a huge, seminal event that happens. You know, first of all …
DE LUCA: I imagine the grieving.
ROVEN: That's the first thing that happened, because I had just seen him two weeks before and showed him this five-minute prologue -- that's what we were into back then, these five-minute prologues introducing the Joker. I had just shown him the five-minute prologue that was going to come out in Imax, six months before the movie was coming out. And he just went crazy for it, loved it so much. We showed it to him twice, and then two weeks later, he's dead. That was really, really shocking. The first thing that we did was speak to his family and made sure that they were part of whatever decisions we were talking about.
HEYMAN: Richard Harris was Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies, and when he got sick, I remember going to see him in the hospital. He said: "Don't dare recast. I'll be back." And then he didn't make it. And he was a godfather to me, and it was like a family, and there's grieving. You don't rush on and go, "Oh well, who are we going to get to replace him?"
DE LUCA: Films really are like family.
HEYMAN: Sometimes a functional one, sometimes …
WILLIAMS All families are dysfunctional.