Gore Verbinski And Johnny Depp Saddle Up For The Lone Ranger

It looks like Gore Verbinski is going to team up with Johnny Depp again. This time the duo, who has previously worked together on three movies about pirates and a cartoon about a bug-eyed chameleon name “Rango”, is going to bring “The Lone Ranger” back to the movie theaters.

Verbinski is locked in to direct, and Depp will play Tonto, the Native American warrior who finds the wounded Texas Ranger who ultimately becomes the masked Lone Ranger, saves his life, and nurses him back to health. Justin Haythe (“Revolutionary Road”) wrote the script, and Jerry Bruckheimer is going to produce the whole shebang for Disney.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the origins of the Lone Ranger:

Originally, the masked man’s true identity was not revealed, though it was hinted that he might be a historical Western hero (such as Wild Bill Hickok). Then, after a preliminary version of the character’s now-standard origin appeared in the Republic movie serial (1938) and elements of that story were worked into the radio series, the hero was revealed to be a Texas Ranger named John Reid, one of six Texas Rangers massacred by the Cavendish Gang. After entering a canyon known as “Bryant’s Gap,” the Rangers were ambushed by Butch Cavendish, leader of the “Hole in the Wall Gang”, and a man named Collins, who had infiltrated the Rangers as a scout. Cavendish then shoots Collins in the back, reasoning that someone who would betray the Rangers could also betray his gang.

Reid’s childhood friend, a Native American known as Tonto, comes upon the massacre scene and discovers Reid is still alive. Tonto takes him to safety and nurses him back to health. Tonto reminds Reid that, when they were young, Reid had rescued him after renegade Indians had murdered his mother and his sister and left him for dead. Reid had given Tonto a horse, and Tonto insisted that Reid accept a silver ring, which is how Tonto recognizes the seriously wounded Reid. Tonto’s tribe was seldom specified. Some books say he was probably supposed to be an Apache, while the radio programs identified him as a Potawatomi.

How close Haythe’s script is to the origin story remains to be seen. There is no word on who will play the titular role, or when production might begin.



About Brent McKnight

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Brent McKnight lives in Seattle with his dogs. He likes beards, movies where things explode, and overcast skies. His three favorite movies are "Rubin and Ed", "A Bittersweet Life", and "Out for Justice". He wishes his knees didn't hurt. On Twitter @BrentMMcKnight

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  • BlackJack

    They couldn’t find an actual Native American actor to play the part?? More “white washing”. This is the same reason I refused to see Prince of Persia and the fools in that movie spoke with British accents WTF?!?! This is the same reason I refused to see The Last Airbender and similar flicks. Some of you who don’t know any better are probably wondering what the problem is. The problem is that this continues to spread stereotypes and inaccuricies and is highly disrespectful to the people of these cultures and nationalities.

    • Brent

      I just watched “Don’t Mess With the Zohan” on TV. Rob Schneider playing a Palestinian? Really? It was ridiculous. I thought films had moved past things like John Wayne playing Ghengis Khan and Charleton Heston playing a Mexican (then I remembered movies like “Soul Man” and “Short Circuit” and cringed).
      While it is a strange choice, Depp does have Native American ancestry (Cherokee on his mother’s side), and from what I know of him, he doesn’t seem like the kind of dude who would willingly participate in an overtly racist film (though I can’t put anything past Hollywood). But I can’t help but wonder how they’re going to approach an updated “Lone Ranger”. I guess we’ll see.
      It would have been nice to see an actor like Adam Beach get a sizable role in a big movie. He’s an actor I like who doesn’t get as much recognition as he should.

      • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

        Agreed on all fronts. I think Adam Beach woulda rocked the role. I also don’t mind Depp but only BECAUSE of his heritage and respect for the culture.

        With Verbinski on board this should be pretty cool.

        I still say Nathan Fillion, or Timothy Olyphant as the Lone Ranger. George Eads (CSI ) could work. Or dude from True Blood.

        • Juggernaut

          Adam Beach was my pick for Tonto. With him in that role and a young up and comer like Aexander Skaarsgard or Ryan McPartlin as Lone Ranger it could have been in the same category as the Star Trek Reboot. I like Depp and all. He is a good actor. I’m just kind of over him. He is overexposed in my opinion. I think that he is perfect for the Captain Jack Sparrow role and has been very good all of his movies. I’d just rather they used younger actors who could grow into the roles and build a franchise around.

          • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

            Understandable, but here’s my issue with that. Not EVERY new franchise has to star young up and comers, not to say they shouldn’t get the chance but at the same time, I don’t think The Lone Ranger should be played by someone who looks so young (even if they really are 30). Nor should Tonto (but again Adam beach woulda worked well) I think certain characters need to look a bit more authoritative or older. But that’s just me.

          • Juggernaut

            I agree to an extent. I was of the opinion that Captain America Should have had an older and more authoratative actor. Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman and Sherlock Holmes, even Christian Bale as Batman, while Bruce Wayne was supposed to be late teens early twenties in the beginning, were both older. I guess that I’m just partial to origin stories and was thinking of this project as such. I’m interested to see who will be cast as Lone Ranger with a heavy like Depp as a sidekick. That should be something! I’m thinking Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey or Matt Damon.

        • Juggernaut

          Adam Beach was my pick for Tonto. With him in that role and a young up and comer like Aexander Skaarsgard or Ryan McPartlin as Lone Ranger it could have been in the same category as the Star Trek Reboot. I like Depp and all. He is a good actor. I’m just kind of over him. He is overexposed in my opinion. I think that he is perfect for the Captain Jack Sparrow role and has been very good all of his movies. I’d just rather they used younger actors who could grow into the roles and build a franchise around.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    @ Juggernaut- Pitt I can see in the role, McConaughey not so much, but Damon maybe. I like Olyphant in the part, and maybe even Bale, or Russel Crow after seeing them in “3:10 to Yuma.”

    And I agree about Cap, and to a point its how I felt about Superman. Tired of these young guys. Christopher Reeve was the perfect age and look. STill want to see Mark Valley play an older experienced Cap.

    • Juggernaut

      I was more or less saying that one of the three (Pitt, McConaughey or Damon) would be the studio’s pick. Matthew McConaughey is my least favorite actor on earth! I just think that the person for the lead would have to be as big if not bigger to be cast. Bale, Olyphant and Crow are all good choices. Someone mentioned Nathan Fillion. I like him but I’m not sure he could be in a movie with Depp and not be overshadowed.

      It’s hard to cast Captain America or Superman. If you want to do an origin of Cap he’d have to be a fairly younger actor (Like Evans) and have him grow into the role of leader within the course of the franchise. I want to see an older, grittier Cap but with the origin story as prominent as it is it would be hard to pick someone like Valley as Cap. He does look like the comics Cap but he lacks the youth and naivety to pull off the early Steve Rogers. If they had two separate actors play the role (one young, one old) it might have worked. As for Superman, Christopher Reeves was spot on. I think that they are going along the same lines as Batman Begins, showing the transition from Clark/Kal-El to Superman in Nolan and Snyders script wich takes an actor with a lot of range like Bale. Bale was totally believable as an awkward college kid, headstrong student and finally fearless vigilante in “Begins”. It will take an actor of proportionate ability to tackle the role of Superman. Hopefully they will pick the right guy for the job. While choosing an unknown has been the standard, they should really consider all of their choices. There are a lot of actors who I see on this or that and think “He’d make a good (insert comic character here)” but it takes more than looking like the character to fill the role.