Julia Roberts' salary for her role in the upcoming Netflix drama, Leave the World Behind, has been revealed. The film will be an adaptation of Rumaan Alam's best-selling 2020 thriller novel. Roberts will co-star alongside Denzel Washington in the film, marking the actors' first project together since 1993's The Pelican Brief.
Leave the World Behind is an unsettling, end-of-days drama about two families who become unexpectedly trapped together. When Amanda (Roberts), her husband Clay, and their two children arrive at a remote Long Island holiday house for a short vacation, a mysterious city-wide power outage brings the homeowners, G.H. (Washington) and Ruth, to the door seeking shelter. While the group is separated from society, new mysteries unfold and the outside world becomes increasingly more dangerous. Sam Esmail (Homecoming, Mr. Robot) is set to write and direct the adaptation, with both he and the two Hollywood stars signing on to the film before the book had even seen a worldwide release.
Variety has reported that Roberts was paid a massive $25 million for her starring role in Leave the World Behind. The Academy Award-winning actress is not the only one to receive a significant pay check from the streaming service, either. Netflix has been investing heavily in the big names leading its upcoming projects, including another $25 million for Jennifer Lawrence in Adam McKay comedy, Don't Look Up, and around $20 million for Ryan Gosling ahead of spy thriller, The Gray Man. According to Variety, these large upfront payments are a built-in safeguard for actors that includes the projected back-end box office participation they would receive if their films got an exclusive theatrical release.
Roberts' large pay check for Leave the World Behind is not surprising. Highly-anticipated for months before it arrived on shelves, Alam's novel was released to immense critical acclaim and instantly became a New York Times bestseller. It was also listed as a finalist for the 2020 U.S. National Book Award and voted Book of the Year by several major newspapers around the world.
So far, Roberts and Washington are the only known cast members, but a project that has already proved to be so successful is sure to lure in more big names. Alam's previous confirmation as executive producer is reassuring, guaranteeing that the film will stay true to the novel's intimate and darkly mysterious tone and story. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how readers react to a cinematic version of Leave the World Behind when it finally arrives.