Back Up the Money Truck, Tony Gilroy’s Making $5 Million Off His ‘Rogue One’ Rewrites
Screenwriting can be a thankless lot. Aside from visionaries on the level of Charlie Kaufman or Aaron Sorkin who cultivate their own celebrity with distinctive storytelling, most scribes labor in obscurity while actors and directors get the credit and accolades. The work of a writer takes place in darkness and isolation, fueled by a carefully calibrated combination of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and anxiety. But that thankless lot gets a whole lot less thankless when the writer stands to become a multi-millionaire once he completes his efforts.
That’s where Tony Gilroy, the pen behind the Bourne franchise and current rewriter of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, currently finds himself. The seasoned scriptwriter was called in when studio executives felt the spinoff needed a bit of touching up, with a rate of $200,000 per week agreed upon between Gilroy’s representation and Lucasfilm. (The Hollywood Reporter article that broke this news described the rate that amounts to a game show victory per week as “fairly normal” for a production of this size.) A pretty penny to be sure, but that’s pocket change compared to the salary that Gilroy’s going to end up with.
Gilroy was hired in June, but as the weeks crept by, it became apparent that he’d need to be an instrumental part of the post-production process and several issues related to the film’s ending. THR describes Gilroy as “taking a leading role with [director Gareth] Edwards” after shooting wrapped, and with the nature of his work becoming more extensive and intensive by the week, his price tag now totals upwards of $5 million.
Aside from another neat factoid to mentally catalogue (and another reason to check your bank balance online and wistfully sigh), this detail reinforces just how high the stakes are for Rogue One. The film’s budget already numbers in the hundreds of millions, not to mention the massive cost Disney incurred when it purchased the property for $4 billion in 2012. J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII brought in a whopping $2 billion since its release last year; that seems like a massive payday, but it’s just what Disney expects and needs to emerge in the black. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens December 16.