In a particular novel, a very popular actress has accepted a leading role in a blockbuster sequel, and receives a very hefty salary (over $10 million) paid in advance. Just before filming starts, she is incapacitated by a medical emergency that leaves her unable to fill her role.
In the novel, the director comes to the actress's agent, begging him to return the salary so that they can hire a new actress to replace her in the role. This key scene in the novel struck me as unrealistic; accidents happen and it's hard to believe that the studios would be completely unprepared for such an event.
I can imagine two possible ways that a studio might be prepared for recovering an actor's salary if the actor is unable to fulfill the role:
- The actor's contract could specify that some or all of the salary must be returned in the event that the actor is unable to fulfill the role
- If the contract did not have such a clause, the production insurance might reimburse the studio for the salary, allowing the studio to hire a new actor.
However, these are just guesses on my part. Are either of those solutions standard practices? Are there other ways that production studios prepare for dealing with an actor's salary in the event that the actor is unable to fulfill the role due to an accident or emergency? Is it realistic that the director would ever need to come crawling to the agent begging for the salary to be returned?