Johnny Depp Chats Briefly on Playing Tonto in 'The Lone Ranger'

January 18, 2011
Source: EW

Lone Ranger

Back in November we got the official word from Disney that Gore Verbinski, director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films would reunite with franchise star Johnny Depp for a big screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger. The project had been gestating for awhile, but now it's just that more of a reality sometime in the future. While we still don't have a name to play the titular character, Depp is definitely on board to play the hero's reliable sidekick Tonto. As for the project itself, Depp told EW, “I think it’s going to be good, when we have a chance to put it up on its feet. What we’ve got so far screenplay-wise is really great, really funny.” More below!

As for playing the part of Tonto, Depp, who is part Cherokee, is quite interested in delivering an honest portrayal of Native Americans. The actor says, "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.” I imagine the film will have the same blend of action, adventure and comedy that Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has delivered. For now we're still waiting for the project to take off, but Jerry Bruckheimer Films has released the logo above as a tease for the film's official website sometime down the road. Thoughts?

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  • I can always trust Depp to do something unique and original, and Gore Verbinski is a great influence on him. They both believe in each other and know how to make good characters and good action. I just hope The Lone Ranger finds it's own style as opposed to the Pirates style the studio is going to push on it for the Box Office
  • Wait a second... Everyone freaks out over other movies "white washing" their cast, but we put Depp in a similar position and suddenly it's okay? I like Depp. I think his roles have gotten a bit stale lately as he hasn't really had to stretch his acting talent in any of them but I still enjoy his performances. Come on though, his casting here seems a bit hypocritical. I feel like Disney is just pandering to the masses now.
    • Anonymous
      He's gonna have to stretch a lot for this if people are gonna buy him as an Indian.
      • I'd agree if I thought he was going to take the role seriously. Disney will most likely have him play it as close to Captain Jack as they can get him to. If he does do a legit performance though I'll definitely give it a chance.
        • voodoo2
          It's a long way from Disney execs exclaiming Depp is "...ruining the movie!" (in regards to PotC dailies).
  • John
    Yay another white actor playing a dark skinned character, when will Hollywood learn!
    • Tlrf
      I agree, they should have a real cowboy play the role of The Lone Ranger
  • Tlichtytexan
    Johnny Depp is one quarter Cherokee and played a Native American once before in "The Brave", which he also co-wrote and directed.
    • He never showed that movie after harsh reviews. Anyhow but yeah John, he's part Cherokee so it's cool. Hollywood prefers good looking or harsh stereotypical ones.
  • jjboldt
    Hard not be excited about this one. Have high hopes for it.
    • Tlrf
      Don't. From what I have heard about Depp, he is perfectly capable of ruining this special story about a Texas Ranger, and not a story about indians. They are already calling it Tonto's Revenge.
  • I thought a few months back Depp said they were looking into Clooney or Pitt playing The Lone Ranger. Oh well, whatever. Hopes are low, sorry Johnny. I like you, but I have to see what this is first before I get remotely excited past the nostalgia factor.
  • Anonymous
    I do like Johnny and enjoy his films ,however, I am getting really tired of seeing him in every single movie that is made. He is not the only character actor out there. They need to start picking other actors for some of these roles, not Johnny all the time. What we don't need is another character performed by him, acting like Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • guest
    Wow, I think it is great casting for Johnny Depp to play Tonto. Now... who would make a wonderful Lone Ranger?! Brandon Routh would do nicely in the role!
  • Mr jeep
    To everyone: This is the story of a Texas Ranger and his loyal friend Tonto, as he also happened to be in real life. The people who are making this movie better take care in keeping the story intact, or else it is goin to go down the way the 70's version did, and Depp along with it. I you are a true Lone Ranger fan, yuou will know this.
  • If it's Johnny Depp that's gonna play the role, it surely gonna be a great movie, and it's surely gonna be a HUGE hit. Johnny Depp is so blessed having film from one to another.
  • Andrea Bakurva
    Depp is a good actor i lke his movie "pirate of the carribean" so maybe he will do great the role lone ranger. 
  • Dr. P Yellow Horn
    I think Johnny Depp as Tonto in the film is  fine.  He is Native American, even if in the States theres this thing about blood quantum measurements...which is just a federal power control thingy to make sure Natives dont overtake settler society - after all, over 24 million Native Americans were killed in the name of creating the occupying Nations states in the Americas...a Holocaust... it would be tradgic to acknowledge just how many Native Americans there still are today who were enfranchised or mixed blooded by marriage - then the government would have to pay more in claims.  Just like in Canada, many settler societies in USA married into Native American Peoples families... if you have European family that came to America as early as 1560 to 1890, you probably have Native American blood...And the blood remembers... So Johnny, be proud, be good, be helpful, be honest, be truthful, be gracious, be confident, as a Native American Tonto - because Tonto would 'Be'. 




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