New ‘Lone Ranger’ Images: Tonto & Ranger Meets Navajo Leaders

3 years ago by  

It’s going to be interesting to see what Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski have in store for Lone Ranger. From day one the director/star duo – who’ve worked together on the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the animated film Rango – have stated their intention to offer audiences a twist on the classic tropes and stereotypes of old west films; and as stated, it’s going to be interesting to see just what that new vision is.

Depp (who plays the titular lawman’s iconic Native American sidekick, Tonto) has been particularly vocal about his desire to do something different with how Native Americans are portrayed onscreen, and the set of Lone Ranger photos you’ll see today feature Depp (as Tonto) meeting with prominent members of the Navajo Nation where filming is currently taking place.

Check out Depp as Tonto and actor Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, posing for photos with President Ben Shelly and Vice President Rex Lee Jim of the Navajo Nation:


As Shelly told Entertainment Tonight, they Navajo Nation is proud to have Disney’s production on doorstep: “We are honored the movie The Lone Ranger is being filmed here on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has beautiful landscape and we are glad it is being shared through filmmaking.” 

Turning cinematic tropes, stereotypes and cliches into fodder for satire and comedy is all the rage these days – see Cabin in the Woods for a recent example – and Depp and Verbinski certainly had some practice doing that very thing with their animated exestentailist western, Rango (which I thought was great, personally speaking). The question is: will the wider audience respond to their vision?

We are talking about the same director and star – as well as super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer – who made the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie leap out of nowhere to become a hit franchise that also revived the high-seas action/adventure film. Even with the production delays and budget woes this film has suffered, this combination of talent should, at the very least, deliver a competent and fun summer blockbuster. Whether they can achieve something greater than that remains to be seen.

Lone Ranger will be in theaters on May 31, 2013

Source: ET via Collider


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  1. JD LOOKS BA!!

  2. I am still not seeing this as a good thing. I never thought this would get the green light to be honest.

  3. Johnny Depp as Tonto
    inspiring even less confidence.
    Johnny looks more like Pocahontas.

  4. This movie is really an insult to the movie going audience. I suppose it’ll make it’s money from kids who don’t know any better.
    Flicks like this are nothing more that machines built to make money and profit from other industries.

    The Lone Ranger amusement park ride is on it’s way.

    • I don’t know if we can say just yet if it is indeed an insult. If they had gone forth with the werewolf angle that was supposedly planned originally, then I would have said yes but now I just don’t know. It could have been interesting if they had gone with Skinwalkers and other authentic, Native American themes but werewolves would have been stupid Hollywood at it’s worst.

      The most important thing for me is that they respect the IP. So if they do what they did with the Green Hornet remake and give the sidekick the spotlight, I’m not sure I will I like that because the Lone Ranger is supposed to be the star.

      Lots of unknowns but my initial reaction is negative although, even if this movie fails, it is still a boon for the Navajo Nation.

    • Isn’t that the case with all movies?

  5. I hope this is good

    • Don’t get your ” hopes ” up.

      Nice avatar ….

  6. This has “fail” written all over it. Ugh.

    • …said the Disney execs when they first saw Depp as Jack Sparrow. Give them the benefit of the doubt. BTW, Depp looks exactly like the real Navajo did back at that time (see the screencast story a few months ago)

      • I’m not basing it on the pictures. Authenticity is fine. I’m basing it on the story. Lone Ranger as an inept, bumbling law man? Tonto really the brains behind the team? Werewolves?!?!?!

        • I’m pretty sure that if the werewolf rumors were true, they have most assuredly been written out of the script with the budget slashing that occurred to get this thin moving again.

          Now if they indeed turn The Lone Ranger into what they did with the new Green Hornet (that being Kato was the brains behind the inept “star”) I will be highly disappointed.

      • I watched the Lone Ranger on Sundays on WGN growing up (followed by the Cisco Kid) and that is NOT the Lone Ranger I remember.

        • Well the Lone Ranger you remember was arguably filled with stereotypes and outdated fantasies of the old west.

          • Right. But Captain Politically Correct ( aka Johnny Depp ) and Verbinski will set the record straight!!

            After all, wasn’t it Depp and Verbinski who squashed the jaded stereotype of pirates?

          • Granted, as were many things from that era. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a modernized, reasonable, inoffensive variant of the Lone Ranger and his native American sidekick/partner Tonto. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a Lone Ranger that kicks a$$ and takes names, that’s a crack shot with a pistol, has good detective skills and a mean right hook with a Tonto that is a tracker, a versatile fighter and hunter and helps the “white man” mete out justice. Why does it have to be a garbage comedy with a fool for a lawman and a wink wink nod nod Tonto? That’s fail. I definitely won’t pay to see that. I want a 3:10 to Yuma Lone Ranger. Not a Three Stooges Lone Ranger.

          • Come to think of it, when it comes to Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp – which one is The Lone Ranger and which one is Tonto ??

          • Being a loyal and trusted friend, having strong values,integrity, and being a hero to millions is NOT outdated. Unless ones idea of a hero is the one that makes alot of money & has no morals. ie: sports figures, rock stars, etc.

  7. If Johnny Depp cares so much about “how Native Americans are portrayed onscreen” why doesn’t suggest to the filmmakers that they actually cast a Native American actor in this role instead of taking the part himself? How many parts does the industry make for Native actors? Not many. Here is a big part in what will probably be a blockbuster and Depp is all too happy to take it, but says he wants to be politically correct about it. F being politically correct, that doesn’t mean anything. How about being truly respectful and fair. I am not convinced this is any better than acting in black face.

    • Haven’t you heard? Johnny fancies himself as a Native American too! Ya see, he’s got this great-grandmother that had some Indian in her, Cherokee or Creek, he’s not sure. Hell, maybe she had an Apache or two in her as well.

  8. do you hear that…it sounds like a giant sucking sound…thats because this movie will do just that….quit screwing around with the classics…Depp is just way too politically correct and PC has no place in this time honored western…tonto was a valuable partner to the Ranger and he always treated him with respect and as an equal and Depp should remember that and try not to make any PC statements…and to add comedy to this is just disgraceful…but movie goers today dont require much in the way of qualty movies.

  9. I watched the Lone Ranger since I was a little kid and I feel you should use Native Americas in roles meant for them. Johnny Drop has about as much Native American blood As I do. I expect more from Disney then this. Guess I was wrong!

  10. As an Indian, I is see this make-up the equivalent to the Black face minstrels of Vaudville. Based on what I have seen Mr. Depp, in my opinion, missed his mark and the commercialization of the appearance of this character absolutely perpetuates a stereotype.