Director Gore Verbinski may not exactly be a household name, but he was responsible for helming the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, so his involvement with any project tends to attract a fair amount of attention - especially when we are talking about a film version of The Lone Ranger that would star none other than Jack Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp.
Verbinski has completed work on his most recent film, the animated feature Rango - which featured the vocal talents of Depp - and is looking to get back into the live-action game. He is currently holding talks with Disney reps to direct the company's big screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger, which Depp is (reportedly) loosely attached to star in as the titular hero's sidekick, Tonto.
The Lone Ranger began as a radio program back in the 1930s, but eventually made the transition to television in 1949. Clayton Moore famously portrayed the masked cowboy, who was the sole survivor of an ambush led by the ruthless outlaw Butch Cavendish. He was nursed back to health by the American Indian Tonto, who thereafter partnered up with the Ranger and joined him on a quest to bring criminals of all sorts to justice.
The very-much-not-a-Native-American Depp has long been associated with Disney's Lone Ranger film, which is being scripted by Revolutionary Road screenwriter Justin Haythe. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the project, which should be smaller in scale and require far fewer special FX than the last couple of Pirates movies did (see below).
A number of moviegoers are undoubtedly tired of hearing Depp's name in association with seemingly almost every other high-profile project to come out of Hollywood these days. The man is still an undeniably talented and charismatic performer - though why he would play Tonto and not star as the Lone Ranger himself is a bit peculiar. One can almost envision Depp playing the masked hero with his tongue pressed firmly in his cheek, while still being convincing as a genuine hero.
That also begs the question - what tone will The Lone Ranger strike? Verbinski's last two Pirates movies were uncharacteristically dark in tone for features released under the Disney banner. If the director does sign on to helm this new film, it will probably strike a chord more similar to the original Pirates (2003's Curse of the Black Pearl) than its more macabre sequels.
We will keep you updated on the development of The Lone Ranger as more information comes our way.