No actress has yet topped the $12.5 million salary that Demi Moore is getting to take it off in Striptease—but Moore’s competition is inching ever closer.
When New Line was looking to cast the role of Agnes von Kurowsky, the World War I nurse who has an affair with Ernest Hemingway (Chris O’Donnell) in Richard Attenborough’s In Love and War, based on the true story behind A Farewell to Arms, the studio gave hard thought to Julia Roberts’ $12 million asking price. But New Line Productions chairman Sara Risher decided she could go cheaper and persuaded Sandra Bullock to sign on for a piddling $10.5 million or 12.5 percent of the gross (whichever number is higher), a jump from her reported $8 million fee for A Time to Kill. Attenborough hopes to extend Bullock’s range: ”Sandra used her attractive and bewitching private personality for The Net and While You Were Sleeping,” he effuses, ”but that is just the surface. She’s a smashing actress.”
Her paycheck, which will eat up almost a third of the budget for the film — set to start production this spring — is ”quite substantial,” admits Attenborough, ”but Sandra has carried three pictures to $10 million openings — that’s a wonderful start.” Meanwhile, Roberts isn’t crying — it’s said she’ll pocket $12 million for TriStar’s comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding. —Anne Thompson