Gore Verbinski Promises An Unconventional ‘Lone Ranger’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated September 18th, 2012 at 7:51 am,

Lone Ranger Movie Logo Gore Verbinski Promises An Unconventional Lone Ranger

Director Gore Verbinski will have collaborated with Johnny Depp five times over the course of  a decade or so by the time the Lone Ranger adaptation arrives in theaters. Their Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy mixed witty wordplay with bits of broad comedy and lots of explosive set pieces, and their upcoming animated western Rango has its tongue pressed even firmer against its cheek.

So it’s not so surprising to hear that the pair’s take on the adventures of the masked Ranger and his companion Tonto (Depp’s role) won’t be too serious either.

The Lone Ranger was originally a 1930s radio program and then a 1950s TV show about a cowboy who’s left for dead by a vicious outlaw, nursed back to health by an American Indian named Tonto, and thereafter teams up with his newfound friend to fight for justice in the Old West. It was originally brought to the big screen in the form of a movie titled The Legend of the Lone Ranger back in 1981, but that version of the western adventure is generally not so well regarded.

Disney has officially dropped the “The” from The Lone Ranger for its adaptation (as Sean Parker might say, “it’s cleaner” :-P), but Verbinski seemingly plans to go much further in terms of messing with the source material. Here’s what he said to Hero Complex on the matter:

“The only version of ‘The Lone Ranger’ I’m interested in doing is ‘Don Quixote’ told from [his sidekick] Sancho Panza’s point of view. And hence I was honest early on with Johnny that Tonto is the part. We’re not going to do it [straight], everyone knows that story. I don’t want to tell that story.”

“I want the version from the untrustworthy narrator who might be a little crazy — but somehow the question is, is he crazy or is the world crazy? That, I find fascinating.”

The Lone Ranger movie with Johnny Depp Gore Verbinski Promises An Unconventional Lone Ranger

It became all the more obvious when word broke that Depp would play Tonto in the new Lone Ranger that the character would be more than just a faithful supporting player to the titular hero. Depp, who is actually part Cherokee himself, spoke to EW a few weeks back and his comments (see below) gel with what Verbinski is saying about their new project:

“I always felt Native Americans were badly portrayed in Hollywood films over the decades. It’s a real opportunity for me to give a salute to them. Tonto was a sidekick in all the ‘Lone Ranger’ series. [This film] is a very different approach to that partnership. And a funny one I think.”

Jerry Bruckheimer will also be re-teaming with Verbinski and Depp for Lone Ranger, which will be scripted by Revolutionary Road screenwriter Justin Haythe. While the writer behind that tragic tale about the graphic disintegration of a marriage might not immediately seem a proper fit for a more subversive and sly take on a masked vigilante story, those who actually saw Revolutionary Road may recall that it had a darkly comical bend at times as well.

Couple that with the involvement of the guys who made movies that combined swashbuckling pirate antics with fish people, and it becomes easier to see how Lone Ranger might be a pretty comedic venture in its own right.

Verbinski, Bruckheimer, and Depp are reuniting for 'Lone Ranger'.

It sounds as though Lone Ranger could end up being the closest we ever get to seeing what Terry Gilliam’s abandoned version of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with Johnny Depp might’ve been like. That alone is reason to be curious about how this project will ultimately pan out.

Look to hear a lot more about Lone Ranger over the next year.

Source: LA Times, EW

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  1. There is so much good and bad in this news that I am on the fence about this one.

  2. Okay… what little bit of hope I had left for this film have now been dashed away. This isn’t what a movie about the Lone Ranger should be. It has to be a dark film if it is going to work – the man, barely alive himself, is the sole survivor of an ambush on his band of Texas Rangers. All other rangers were killed, including the guy’s brother! Tonto nurses this “Lone Ranger” back to health, and with his true identity supposedly dead, he goes after the ambushers to bring them to justice. Tell me, how is that plot the makings of a comedy?!?

    • They said, comedic moments and if you saw Revolutionary Road, there are funny moments even though (like the article says) it was about the painful dissentegration of a marriage.

      I think this is a great retelling approach. We’ve all seen the light and airy tv series remade to a dark and serious bluckbuster version. It’s ‘old hat’

  3. The Lone Ranger isnt the Lead ?

  4. sounds terrible. i’m not interested in a COMEDY western. has so much potential.

  5. That is a terrible idea. If you’re going to do something as iconic as The Lone Ranger, you should do it right. This is looking to be the next Jonah Hex.

  6. The Lone Ranger is one superhero,
    and to me a superhero who stands alone,
    who will remain a legend and never ride again.

    This current incarnation seems as far removed as
    previous from whom The Lone Ranger is and
    what a towering figure he was to many.

    The Lone Ranger was long in syndication
    when I was growing up and was on
    TV every afternoon after school.

    As a child I painted a poster of
    The Lone Ranger Creed which
    I had hung above my bed.

    For me, The Lone Ranger,
    will forever be Clayton Moore.
    His portrayal was truly inspirational,
    doing the impossible and making him real.

    The Lone Ranger fought for what was right
    and he stood for truth and all that was true.
    Trying to be like him was to become your best.

    That daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains
    will not return to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

    As much as I long to see that fiery horse
    with a speed of light and cloud of dust,
    the sound of a hearty “Hi-Yo,Silver!”
    will only be an echo in my heart.



    “I believe that to have a friend,
    a man must be one.

    That all men are created equal
    and that everyone has within himself
    the power to make this a better world.

    That God put the firewood there
    but that every man
    must gather and light it himself.

    In being prepared
    physically, mentally, and morally
    to fight when necessary
    for that which is right.

    That a man should make the most
    of what equipment he has.

    That ‘This government,
    of the people, by the people
    and for the people’
    shall live always.

    That men should live by
    the rule of what is best
    for the greatest number.

    That sooner or later…
    we must settle with the world
    and make payment for what we have taken.

    That all things change but truth,
    and that truth alone, lives on forever.

    In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”

    The Lone Ranger

    • Wow. And I mean that in a ‘scary’ kind of way.

      • Kev,

        What, pray tell, is scary about that? Seems like an excellent list of rules to live by to me.


        • Nothing wrong with the ideals… they’re swell. But The Lone Ranger is an imaginary guy, right?

          • Yes, who represented those ideals to Robert. Considering how people here go nuts over the texture of webbing on the Spider-Man costume, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the comment above, even in relation to a fictional character.


            • I agree , I grew up idolizing The Lone ranger myself and had the same poster over my bed. It ashame we have stepped so far away from doing what s right for whats easy. It was a nice reminder and Thank you Robert for that.

  7. If you think that is scary, I pity you. The Lone Ranger has a very special place in the mythos of Americans. He didn’t kill, he shot the guns out of their hands. The Ranger Oath is sacred an not to be befouled.
    Hollywood messed with Clayton Moore when they made that pile of stink back in the 80′s. They forgot that Superman is about “The American Way”. And artistically they are merging The Ranger and Don Quixote?
    Hollywood just doesn’t learn.
    Robert, you and both know, “You don’t pull on the mask of the Old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim”

    • Wow. And I mean that in a ‘SCARIER’ kind of way.

      • You can hide in your basement pulling wings off flies, I prefer to aspire to the better, kinder callings of life.
        Go watch this epic fail,Robert, I and others with a soul will work to make a better world.
        Long live the Reid family!

  8. I can understand some sick, dumb Hollywood schmuck wanting to get an idea that will give him some warped sense of power. Hey, why not do it by destroying a true superhero, The Lone Ranger. The thing that scares me is that there must be a lot of those schmucks around with enough power already to tear down an icon. Otherwise this coo coo idea would never have gotten this far.

  9. I love that they are bring the Ranger back I was raised on him its just sad that the role made Clayton Moore go a little crazy (fighting to wear the mask in everyday life)kinda like Bela Lugosi being buried in his dracula costume and also I’m glad Tim Burton has nothing to do with this movie he is such a hack and it seems Depp has figured that out

    • You think because Depp has done/is doing a number of films with people other than Burton that he must have gotten wiser? Could it maybe just be that he enjoys working and goes to where the work is? Maybe…hmmm? Not everyone thinks Burton is a hack; some of us quite enjoy his films.

    • Clayton Moore ended with Alzheimer’s. Towards the end of his public days, there was little he knew other than The Lone Ranger days.

  10. The first strike against this movie was removing the word “The” from “THE LONE RANGER.” The second strike is not doing this as a serious film. Unfortunately I don’t think this will be a good film.

  11. who is going to be (the) lone ranger? i hope they leave out the supernatural and fish faced alien ghost type characters,. this sounds like the wild wild west all over again.

    if we are going to make the lone ranger a comedy, why not make the silence of the lambs into a musical and helter skelter into an animated pixar story.

  12. Why did they take the (the) out of “The Lone Ranger” and why is it being told from Tonto’s perspective. This movie has flop written all over it.

  13. What i find funny is that Depp states that American Indians didnt get the respect yet your making a comdey out of those characetrs , where is the respect in that. Why not just call it Blazing Saddles 2, which Id much rather see then this, at least that makes no illusions as to what its motivation is.

    • Plus The Lone Ranger made a point of always treating Tonto as an equal and made others treated him that way. So I hope they dont go on a tack which portrays Tonto as feeling annoyed at being subservient to The Lone Ranger.

  14. I’m hoping I misunderstanding the director here. The movie is very difficult to make in a light way. I’m curious if I’m just misunderstanding what was said.

    I like the idea of the story being told through Tonto’s eyes, considering the Lone Ranger is the central character and should not have to tell his own story. Yet, the Lone Ranger is a sad tale. The one thing I thought the movie in the 80s got right was the beginning of the movie and the ambush.

    • I think everyone who responded is a little confused, watch Revolutionary Road because the harsh reality mixed with humourous moments that make life bearable is the lightning they’re trying to bottle. This is just one more example of pre-production leaks causing unsure reactions from lifelong fans.

      • Gotcha. After I read the comments I reread the others and I think I’m catching on now.

  15. The reprobates of hollywood are back at it.Anything they can can turn to smut is now their better days.If they made a remake of Ozzie and Harriet,of course then,Harriet would leave Ozzie for another woman.hollywierd is nothing but immoral anymore.But why do they think we want to watch it?
    I hope they lose a$$ on this one.

  16. I am pushing 83 years and I remember listening to The Lone Ranger on radio when I was a child.
    The Lone Ranger stood for morality and brotherhood, but turn on the news, especially the political news.
    No one does that anymore.

    • Unfortunately, I can pretty much guarantee he’ll stand for neither of this things in this new movie. :\

  17. ****RING’S OVER RING’S**** hi this is the SIS,the CIA,the F.B.I.,and the Secret Service,and NYPD and LAPD with ***** Beach PD is Allen Osborne still with your Agency-hit 42873-112 ****RING’S OVER RING’S OVER RING’S**** YOU KNOW WHAT SPAD’S TABLE CRACKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!