Bruce Willis Is 'for Sale for $1M a Day'

Inside the trendy Hollywood practice of 'boarding' big stars

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2014 12:00 PM CST

(Newser) – The latest trend in Hollywood: "boarding" a big star, which means flying an actor in to film all his scenes for a movie in just a few days or weeks—and paying him far less than his actual quote. Filmmakers get a big name for less, and actors are able to fit in more projects while still making big bucks for more traditional jobs. The Hollywood Reporter rounds up some examples of the practice:

  • Bruce Willis was boarded for The Expendables 2 and GI Joe: Retaliation. "Everyone knows he is for sale for $1 million a day," says a producer. That must be why, when he was offered $3 million for four days of boarding on The Expendables 3, he asked for $4 million instead and ended up getting replaced by Harrison Ford (and slammed by Sylvester Stallone).
  • Johnny Depp made $1 million in a week when he was boarded for Disney's Into the Woods as a favor to Rob Marshall, who directed Depp in one of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

  • Producers found a way to bump Divergent past other films based on young-adult book series by getting Oscar winner Kate Winslet on board. In her case, being boarded in also helped make the shooting schedule more convenient, since she was pregnant at the time.
  • Similarly, Meryl Streep added quite a bit of cachet to upcoming sci-fi film The Giver, but without the "big salary," when she was boarded in for 10 days, says a Weinstein Co. rep.
  • When Jack Nicholson was boarded in for his role in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a source says Nicholson's rep would start tapping his watch when the actor hit his number of contractual hours.
  • Though Dwayne Johnson was boarded in for just four weeks of work on Fast & Furious 6, he was used quite a bit in marketing materials for the movie.

Actor Bruce Willis arrives at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Actor Bruce Willis arrives at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in Santa Monica, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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