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As The Hollywood Reporter previously reported, the Disney movie missed its autumn start date because of the long-running talks, which ultimately saw the budget cut from an eye-popping $250 million down to $215 million.
Depp, who is currently promoting The Rum Diary, which opens Oct. 28, told MTV News that he and Verbinski were aware the budget was going to be a problem from the start.
“We knew that the budget was going to be huge initially, and we also knew that it was going to be shut down for a while, and it was kind of like we patiently wait — we shave a little bit here, we do a little bit there, they fix it,” he said.
As THR previously reported, the creatives involved reduced their fees: no $20 million for Depp, no $10 million apiece for Bruckheimer and Verbinski, as is their norm on tentpoles. In addition, sources told THR that the filmmakers will sacrifice their back-end participation if the film comes in over budget.
Meanwhile, one of several planned train sequences was scrapped, and several CGI-heavy bells and whistles were eliminated.
For his part, Depp said he really wanted a resolution that would allow the project to move forward because he’s so invested in it.
“I like the character,” he said. “I think I have interesting plans for the character, and I think the film itself could be entertaining and very funny. But also I like the idea of having the opportunity to make fun of the idea of the Indian as a sidekick — which has always been [the case] throughout the history of Hollywood, the Native American has always been a second-class, third-class, fourth-class citizen, and I don’t see Tonto that way at all. So it’s an opportunity for me to salute Native Americans.”
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