While it's nothing compared to the budget battle which Gore Verbinski's Lone Ranger movie had to undertake after Disney decided that $250 million is too much to spend on a western (even one starring Johnny Depp), the latest bit of Ranger "drama" has been that actor/singer Dwight Yoakam recently backed out of the film due to scheduling issues - even though principal photography is on the verge of getting underway.
Yoakam was set to appear in Lone Ranger as Butch Cavendish, the no-good-varmint who leaves John Reid (Armie Hammer) for dead - only to pay for his mistake when an American Indian named Tonto (Depp) rescues Mr. Reid and helps him to become the masked avenger known as (what else?) The Lone Ranger.
Deadline says that William Fichtner has been "tapped" by Disney to serve as Yoakam's replacement in Lone Ranger. The actor is set to join a cast composed of one major A-lister (Depp) and numerous less bankable but acclaimed acting veterans and rising stars alike, including Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland), Barry Pepper (True Grit), Ruth Wilson (Luther), Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins), and James Badge Dale (The Grey).
Fichtner is one of those character actors whose name you may not immediately recognize, but whose face you've surely seen many times before. To put it in perspective: Fichtner has turned in memorable supporting performances in such films as Heat, Contact, Armageddon, The Perfect Storm, Black Hawk Down, Crash, The Dark Knight, and Date Night over the years. Not to mention, his recurring roles as Alex Mahone on Prison Break, Phil Yagoda on Entourage AND Fichtner's scene-stealing villainous turn as "The Accountant" in last year's Drive Angry 3D.
In other words, Fichtner is another great addition to the Lone Ranger cast. Indeed, regardless of how you feel about Verbinski's approach to the Ranger mythos in general there's no denying the filmmaker has assembled a capable crew of thespians to help bring his wayward vision to life.
Look for The Lone Ranger to ride into theaters around the U.S. on May 31st, 2013.
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