10 Rare Movie Actor Contract Clauses You Never Knew

Actors have to look out for number one.

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As boring as the bureaucratic side of filmmaking can be, things get a little more interesting when you consider the demands that established actors often have written into their movie contracts.

It's well-known of course that Julia Roberts, for instance, has had a no-nudity clause for decades, that Roger Moore asked for an endless supply of fancy Montecristo cigars while playing James Bond, and that Steve McQueen insisted he and Paul Newman have the exact same number of lines on The Towering Inferno.

But you'll probably be less-aware of these amusing contractual clauses from A-list actors who flexed their fame and power to ensure they had maximum comfort on set and beyond.

For the most part you can't really blame the actors for working an angle for their own benefit, and while a few of the demands do certainly seem a little diva-ish, for the most part they're odd enough that you'd probably never even think of them.

From actors getting picky about blooper reels to demanding the movie shoot work around their favourite sports team's schedule, and everything in-between, these are the rarest, strangest contractual clauses that passed you by...

10. Johnny Depp Got Paid $16 Million Despite Being Fired (Fantastic Beasts 3)

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Warner Bros.

One of the most coveted contractual clauses in Hollywood is a "pay or play" clause, which stipulates that the signed actor gets paid their negotiated fee no matter what.

Typically this is reserved for in-demand A-list actors to ensure they still get paid even if a blockbuster film project gets continually delayed, though in the case of Johnny Depp and the third Fantastic Beasts film, things are a little different.

Having shot just a single scene for the film as the villainous Grindelwald, Depp was asked to leave the production by Warner Bros. after losing his high-profile libel lawsuit against British newspaper The Sun, after the tabloid rag characterised him as a "wife-beater."

But because Depp's contract for the film had no morality clause nor was he fired for any misconduct on the production itself, Warner Bros. had to pay out his entire fee, said to be a stonking $16 million, while recasting him with Mads Mikkelsen.

Evidently pay or play clauses are extremely high-risk investments for studios, so typically are only afforded to the most valuable and sought-after performers.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.