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November 24, 2010

Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski will reunite for ‘Lone Ranger’

Posted in: Movies

Vintage advertisement with Lone Ranger and Tonto

The Lone Ranger will ride again and “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski will be calling the shots for the Disney.

Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have been talking about a Lone Ranger feature film for years and announced in 2008 that Johnny Depp would play the role of Tonto, the faithful friend to the masked man. The project has been slow to the screen, though, with Depp’s dense schedule and the emphasis by the studio, producer and star on their massively successful “Pirates” franchise, which has pulled in $5.35 billion in worldwide box office with three films and has a fourth scheduled for release next summer. Now, though, with Verbinski on board, the Lone Ranger revival might move into gallop mode.

The 45-year-old Verbinski has been working as director and producer on “Rango,” the Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures animated feature with Depp in the title role. That movie has a strong early buzz and a fun, quirky trailer with a bulging-eye character that might remind some viewers of the Budweiser frogs ad, which was one of Verbinksi’s signature successes when he was directing commercials. (Verbinski, a Tennessee native who moved to California in his youth, also made his mark directing music videos, like this one and this one, and played in bands himself.)

With “Rango” (which also stars Abigail Breslin and “Pirates” alum Bill Nighy and marks the first animated feature film for Industrial Light & Magic) arriving in March, Verbinski will be free soon to go off into the Old West adventure. The tapping of Verbinski for the job was announced in a Variety story Wednesday morning but it was hardly surprising (and there were rumors reported) after the success of the three “Pirates” films. That franchise is now under the command of director Rob Marshall (Chicago“).  The big question now is who will wear the mask in the title role of the movie and when exactly the film will reach theaters…

– Geoff Boucher

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