‘Unstoppable’ Without Denzel Washington

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 22nd, 2013 at 6:35 pm,

Denzel Washington’s fifth collaboration with director Tony Scott was set to be the runaway train thriller, Unstoppable. Star Trek’s Chris Pine was reportedly in talks to star alongside Washington in the movie, and it looked the project was firmly on its way.

That was until budget concerns arose, particularly after Washington and Scott’s last collaboration, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, recently performed disappointingly at the box office ($100-plus million budget to a $61 million domestic box office performance).

Well, it appears that money has become too much of an issue around the movie – because Denzel Washington has reportedly dropped out of Unstoppable.

Variety is reporting (from “insiders close to the actor”) that Washington has walked from Unstoppable and is currently looking for other projects to star in. Even though talks between Washington and Scott will go on this week as they promote Pelham internationally, the actor’s reps confirm he’s “available.” There’s no word on whether Chris Pine is still involved, but there’s nothing to suggest he isn’t at this point in time.

The Unstoppable budget is undoubtedly the thing that caused this whole problem with Washington: Sources say it was initially set at a whopping $107 million, but was later cut down to $100 million. However, Fox still wasn’t happy with the budget being that high and reportedly wanted it further slashed to the “low” $90 million range. Scott was asked by the studio to cut his paycheck from $9 million to $6 million, which as far as we know, he accepted. Washington was asked to cut his huge $20 million paycheck to $16 million, but he declined.

So for now Washington remains a free player in the acting world. Who knows, maybe Scott and 20th Century Fox can convince him to come back (perhaps offering some sort of back-end revenue from the film’s box office to compensate for his reduced upfront paycheck), and we’ll see Washington become Unstoppable once more.

What I want to know is why Washington turned down the $16 million Fox were willing to pay him for the role. When you’re the kind of actor that gets $20 million a film (and you wonder why your movie tickets cost so damn much?), what real difference does shaving $4 million off of that make? Is Washington hurting for cash, or is he just greedy? It seems extra strange that the actor would drop Unstoppable like this when it’s his fifth collaboration with Tony Scott, a director he clearly likes to work with. I’m really curious to see what explanation Washington gives about the whole thing.

Stay tuned, folks.

What do you think of Denzel Washington no longer starring in Unstoppable? Do you think he was right for walking away?

Source: Variety

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  1. Scrap the project entirely!
    There must be better material out there.

  2. This project’s failure seems Unstoppable.

  3. Denzel picks good roles and good movies. Of course it has to do with the 4 Mill he was cut but I dont think that is the only reason. There has to be more to it

  4. I thought it was in trouble.
    I am not surprised.

  5. My my my, aren’t we greedy Mr. Washington. You’re one of my all time favorite actors but you can’t take it with you when you die. How much money does it take to live a good life? 50, 100, or 500 million perhaps? Sheesh!

    • Tell that ot Bill Gates

  6. Greed has nothing to do with his decision IMO.

    If you are an “A” list actor, which he is, and you are getting 20 million a movie, which he is, you don’t suddenly take a 25% decrease in pay the first time someone asks you to take less. It is not a matter of greed, I think it is a matter of him trying to retain his lofty status as an actor. If no one pays him 20 million to do another film he’ll know it was a mistake to turn down the 16 million. However, if someone does give him 20 million for another movie it will solidify, at least for one more movie, that he is still on top.

  7. That’s real elitist thinking for a poor guy. Denzel Washington is one of the finest actors ever to come out of Hollywood and everybody knows it. He never comes off as having a big ego on screen which is one of his greatest charms. I would hate to think that in real life he just has to be on the “A list” and just has to get 20 million a pop to feel good about himself and his craft. Lets all just come back down to earth now.

  8. @Stan

    I had a whole other post written but after re-reading my last post I think you misunderstood what I meant. I was speaking totally with a business mindset not ego.

    BTW, as far as thinking I am poor, you know nothing about me … so please don’t pretend that you do.

  9. Dude chill, I meant no personal negativity towards you. I don’t know anything about you personally but seriously doubt that you’re an actor wanting a “minimum” of 20 million dollars per gig. See, that’s whats wrong with this country anymore. We’ve all lost perspective on what’s most important in life. However, I’ll give Mr. Washington the benefit of the doubt as far as personal ego is concerned. Having said that, I doubt that a man easily worth hundreds of millions of dollars should be quibbling over the difference between 16 and 20 million for a few months easy work. Cheers!

  10. Me, I love old school action films (52 years old) and was also looking forward to this one. I watched “Man on Fire” a couple weeks ago and still get a kick out of it. Denzel should be less concerned with what the Hollywood establishment thinks about his professional status, know who his true friends are and sit there on that stack of cash with a big ol **it eating grin on his face. Oh, and change his mind about doing “Unstoppable”.

  11. I was really looking forward to this. I love this type of film and Denzel is as good as it gets.
    One he shouldn’t be greedy. I’ll take 16 mil. and two- people over the age of 35 eventually wil have no more old school type action films to go too because they will ceese to exist.


  12. @ INK

    Spot on dude, It’s got nothing to do with ego, if he accepts the $16 million offer than the next studio will think they can offer him less and before too long he’s only being offered roles for 8 million a pop.

  13. Yeah, must be terrible to be chiseled down to a mere 8 million. Can’t imagine how he supports his family. LOL

  14. @Stan

    What is your problem, dude?
    Did a rich person spit in your face or something?

  15. Wow – this is a bummer and I really hope the film gets made being as I think I will be working on the crew. I am really counting on this!

    As far as him not accepting less money – I cant blame him – why take 16 when you can get 20 mil – I mean really – that is like asking someone that makes $50,000/year to go down to $40,000 – that is a 20% paycut. And you know something – the dude knows that he wont always get 20 mil a movie so he needs to make it while he can.

    The price they pay all the movie stars is outrageous – but that is what they get paid – so why should he take a cut.

    These guys work hard when they make these films…dont think they dont. They put in an average of 16 hours a day 5 to 6 days a week for however long this movie goes on – this one could be 4 months.

  16. Sounds more like typical high-class ego to me. The same thing happens, like in this recession, when a company has to seriously cut-back to stay afloat. Who has to shoulder the bulk of the pay cuts? Everyone EXCEPT the rich CEO’s. You never tell a rich cry-baby to take a pay cut, because, let’s face it; super-rich people (and their respective egos) are much better than the average person. Therefore, everybody else needs to do without, not them.

  17. You got that right Mr. Darwin, we need to evolve away from the idea that it takes millions of dollars to live a good life in this country. Nobody is worth $20 million dollars for anything they do including the president. Insanity!

  18. They started filming in a little town in PA. They totally closed a bridge so it took me 20 minutes longer to get home and well in a small town that is like an hour delay.

  19. Usually when a movie comes to town – they bring employment opportunities to town with them…Pittsburgh has alot to offer the film industry – we have people trained in this line of work and experienced and good at what they do. Unstoppable brought in all LA workers – Not good points in my book