Jerry Bruckheimer Discusses ‘Lone Ranger’ Production Delay

Published 4 years ago by

lone ranger Jerry Bruckheimer Discusses Lone Ranger Production Delay

Disney’s Lone Ranger adaptation has been fighting an uphill battle, ever since director Gore Verbinski announced his intentions to deliver a surprisingly unconventional version of the character. That was long before the film was (briefly) canceled by the Mouse House’s executives.

The Johnny Depp-starring western is now back on track and has a new scheduled theatrical release date to boot. Still, there’s good reason to wonder: besides the now-infamous “werewolves” aspect of the the film’s plot, what exactly caused Lone Ranger‘s estimated budget to balloon to upwards of $250-260 million… before it was reworked significantly and lowered to a “more reasonable” level of $215 million?

Lone Ranger producer Jerry Bruckheimer has a lot of experience when it comes to working on ultra-expensive projects – be it Michael Bay films like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor or Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Studios always prefer things to be as cheap as possible, which is why pricey undertakings like these often have to deal with temporary production delays. All the same, chopping off at least $35 million from a movie’s production budget is not a simple task (to say the least).

Here is how Bruckheimer says he, Verbinski, Depp, and their Lone Ranger production team managed the task (via THR):

“We redid the production plan. We originally laid it out to avoid winter. Every single location we had, there was winter — 30s at night, 50s during the day, best-case scenario. We were jumping around. California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah. If we had a big crowd scene and then the next day we were shooting just Tonto and the Lone Ranger, we still had the crew “on” because you have them weekly… [So] we bunched together scenes with Tonto and the Lone Ranger, so we had a much smaller crew. We saved about $10 million just by doing that.

“Then we looked for the best break in tax incentives. We found that Louisiana gave us a better tax incentive than New Mexico — that was another $8 million. We’re still shooting in New Mexico, and we might [also] go to Louisiana. We’re asking New Mexico to come closer to the Louisiana incentive. We dropped our California location not because they didn’t offer a tax break but because it was another production office that we had to open.

“… [Then Director] Gore [Verbinski] and myself and Johnny [Depp] and some vendors and creative people agreed to deferments. They will get paid at a certain point that Disney negotiated with them, as I will. It’s a “favored nation” deal, so we all get paid at the same point when Disney recoups…”

Lone Ranger Movie Cancelled Jerry Bruckheimer Discusses Lone Ranger Production Delay

On the topic of what material in the Lone Ranger screenplay – penned by the likes of Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) and Pirates scribers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio – did (or failed to) make the cut:

“We cut a sequence involving a coyote attack — supernatural coyotes — and a small animated segment. The train [scenes] are intact. We trimmed it a little bit. Gore made some sacrifices creatively, but nothing that would hurt the film. We had to work it out. The studio set a number, and it was always our responsibility to get to the number.”

While there’s been discussion before about how Lone Ranger is reportedly still aiming to feature one of the biggest locomotive train action set pieces ever put to film, this is the first we’ve heard about an animated sequence – or “supernatural coyotes”… unless Bruckehimer is referring to the film’s “werewolves”-?

Verbinski has incorporated visually surreal and overtly philosophical elements into otherwise mainstream popcorn movies before (see: this year’s Rango), but it sounds like he was originally going for something even more unorthodox with Lone Ranger. Whether the final product will be better or worse because of the aforementioned artistic compromises Verbinski and Co. ultimately had to make… well, that is anyone’s guess at this point.

Lone Ranger is now slated to gallop into U.S. theaters on May 31st, 2013.

Source: THR

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  1. $215 million still seems crazy IMO. Unless the train sequence alone costs $115 million what in the world is this movie going to be about?

  2. From the sounds of it it’s going to be about an hour and a half of pure suckage. At least they came to their senses enough to realize the werewolves were not a good idea. Now if they’d just drop the stupid “Tonto is the star” idea. Bruckheimer isn’t a bad director but Johnny Dep seams to have corrupted him or something.

  3. Also why are they waisting so much money jumping around to a dozen different states. Western locations are pretty much dirt and rocks.

  4. The only reason why I think they are doing the Tonto is the star thing is because Depp wants the spot light, hince the bad casting of the Lone Ranger.
    I don’t think they cut out the werewolf part, hopefully I’m wrong. And why Louisiana? Nothing in that state looks like the old west, go film in west/north Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, etc..

    • “We’re still shooting in New Mexico”

      No they did not cut out the werewolf part it ties (supposedly) into to Indian lore in some way.

      Why does he want the spotlight? Would you be assuming that he is a needy person? I dont understand the Depp comment at all.

      • Cause Depp said at one point that this was a dream project of his, being Tonto. And seeing how since the beginning it has been the Tonto as star instead of the Ranger it shows. Its not that he is needy, its just that he wanted this character and he has been pushing the film forward so he is going to get the spotlight.

  5. This movie is going to TANK, big time. Fortunately I will NOT be wasting my money on this steaming pile of Cattle dung. I think I will stick with watching the original TV series of Lone Ranger. You know, the one WITHOUT Supernatural Coyotes(WEREWOLVES).

  6. This whole idea seems weird to me. Why do this to the Lone Ranger? I am kind of suprised Depp is doing this too. It all seems like an injustice to a classic beloved character.

  7. whats wrong u people this film going to awesome and besides johnnys is part indian,just close your eyes and tan him up a bit and he’ll look great and plus gore and johnny wanted to give tonto more screen time and not just a small side kick crap like the old show was about, i mean tonto was doing all the work for christ sake.

  8. Man, this movie is going to suck big time. I like Depp, but this whole project sounds like a complete waster of $215 million.

  9. I have nothing negative to say about this. I highly respect and look up to Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp and I love what they and Disney have done with Pirates of the Caribbean. I also enjoyed Bruckheimer’s Prince of Persia. I’m a really looking forward to Brave and John Carter of Mars as well.

    I think that the ‘Lone Ranger’ is going to be very exciting. I still remember how people cried fowl before Pirates of the Caribbean was released saying they didn’t see how ‘undead pirates’ and ‘cursed gold’ could make sense and yet ‘Pirates’ has become a blockbuster phenomena now and I trust that the same shall prove true for Lone Ranger. I am also very glad that Tonto will be the star as I’m part American Indian and part African America. I appreciate my Native American heritage and I’m glad that Tonto won’t be treated as a dumb redskin.

    I’m also glad and thankful that the Train sequence and the Werewolf elements have been left in tact although I hope that the supernatural coyotes make it into the Disney Lone Ranger movie prequel comic.