Thesp eyeing $15 mil payday

Robert De Niro is close to a $15 million “Score”: he’s in final negotiations to topline Mandalay Pictures’ “The Score,” a suspenser that the company had been developing.

De Niro will receive $15 million for the role — a record sum for the Oscar-winning thesp. De Niro’s previous high payday was $12 million for his services on United Artists’ “Ronin,” a $4 million increase from his $8 million payday for Warner’s “Analyze This.”

Director Frank Oz (“In & Out,” “Bowfinger”) is attached to helm. Scribe Kario Salem (“The Rat Pack”) is revising from his original script, with notes from De Niro.

Pic, to be produced by Gary Foster and Lee Rich and bankroled by Mandalay Pictures, tells the story of an older thief who hopes to retire and live off his riches when a young kid blackmails him into one last heist.

Secondary casting is expected to begin in two weeks for an intended March start.

De Niro, Oz and Salem are all repped by CAA.

(Claude Brodesser contributed to this report.)

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