With virtually all movie studios reporting a downturn in profits, top stars and directors are being forced to take sizable paycuts, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. They include Denzel Washington, who did not receive his usual $20-million fee for his current upcoming film for 20th Century Fox, Unstoppable ; Steve Carell, who also took a smaller slice for Dinner for Schmucks ; and Julia Roberts who was replaced in The Proposal by Sandra Bullock when she refused to take a pay cut, the Times said, without naming sources. The same goes for directors David Fincher and Jay Roach, the Times said. With the exception of Will Smith, no star is able to command the kind of deal that was once commonplace in Hollywood, the newspaper indicated. During last year's writers' strike, it noted, studios began to reassess their costs. "It's never a good thing when studios have time to think, especially if they're going to be thinking -- exactly why are we paying all these people all this money?" one top talent agent told the Times. "They started looking at their overall TV and movie deals and before you knew it, a ton of talent had lost their deals."

05/08/2009