FILM: THE LONE RANGER
CAST: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter
DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski
From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Academy Award–winning director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise, comes ‘The Lone Ranger’, an adventure story infused with action and humor, in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice — taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.
A legacy reborn
Eighty years after they first rode into the public’s imagination, the classic characters of the Lone Ranger and Tonto remain enduring fixtures of the American cultural landscape. “There’s something about these characters that have appealed to every generation since they were invented,” notes producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “I grew up in Detroit, and ‘The Lone Ranger’ radio and TV shows were part of my youth, and millions of others as well.” On radio, television, theater screens, TV animation, comic strips, books, graphic novels, and video games, the perpetual popularity of these iconic American characters represents a continuum that confirms the continuity of the public’s fascination with them.
The program first made its way onto the airwaves courtesy of WXYZ radio in Detroit, Michigan, on January 30, 1933. The station owner, George W. Trendle, wanted a Western that would appeal to a children’s audience.
The character he created was wholesome, honest and an authority figure kids could admire.
There were 2956 radio episodes of ‘The Lone Ranger’ (the last new one was broadcast on September 3, 1954), a 21-year history that actually overlapped the hugely successful television series, starring stalwart Clayton Moore as the titular character and dignified Jay Silverheels as Tonto. This program, which became an international phenomenon, began airing in 1949 and continued until 1957.
The huge popularity of the show also spun off into two theatrical feature films, ‘The Lone Ranger’ (1956) and ‘The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold’ (1958). But now it’s time for Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer to put their own indelible stamps on Tonto and the Lone Ranger.
Depp’s interest in playing Tonto developed early on when it was just germinating as an idea with Bruckheimer. Depp, in typical fashion, figured that the best way to get the ball rolling would be to get into character as Tonto.
He enlisted the help of two close friends – makeup artist Joel Harlow and photographer Peter Mountain – and set about creating his distinctive version of how Tonto would look in the hope that it would convince Bruckheimer and the studio, Disney, to give it the green light.
The renowned character actor and Hollywood leading man based his “look” for Tonto on a painting he’d seen of a Native American warrior and added his own, unique, flourishes.
“‘The Lone Ranger’ was just one of those sort of regular things that you would see on television as a kid. I watched it and I always identified with Tonto,” says Depp. “And even as a kid I wondered why the Indian was the sidekick.
“And it wasn’t that ‘The Lone Ranger’ was overtly disrespectful in the way he treated Tonto but I just thought, ‘why is he the guy that has to go and do this and that? Why isn’t he the hero?’ So that was something that was always on my mind.
And I was told at a very young age that we have some Indian blood in our family…who knows how much – maybe very little, I don’t know.
“So what I wanted to do was play this character not as the sidekick to the Lone Ranger.
I wanted to play him as a warrior and as a man with great integrity and dignity. It’s my small sliver of a contribution to try and right the wrongs that have been committed in the past.”
With an all-star cast lead by Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams, ‘The Big Wedding’ is an often outrageous comedy that gives an intimate view of a modern family through their highs and lows over a single weekend of celebration.
In the film, Don and Ellie Griffin (Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton), long divorced, are suddenly thrown back together for the sake of their adopted son’s wedding when his very conservative biological mother decides to come in for the nuptials. The Griffin’s soon learn that acting the happily married couple is not so easy and especially awkward for Don’s girlfriend, Bebe (Sarandon). In the midst of these charades, the Griffin’s children face their own troubles as Lyla (Katherine Heigl) struggles with a secret, Jared (Topher Grace) contemplates his love life or lack thereof, and Alejandro (Ben Barnes) tries to keep everyone together, including his new bride, Missy (Amanda Seyfried) who is appeasing her parents by getting married by a priest (Robin Williams) in a traditional Catholic wedding.