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May 17, 2011

‘Lone Ranger’: Armie Hammer of ‘Social Network’ poised to wear mask

Posted in: Movies

Armie Hammer in "Social Network."

Armie Hammer in "The Social Network" (Merrick Morton / Columbia Tristar)

When it came to the Lone Ranger, the classic question was “Who was that masked man?”  — but for some casual moviegoers on Tuesday the query might be “Who is that actor?”

That’s because the news is spreading that Armie Hammer will portray the mysterious hero of the Old West in the new adventure film from Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a film that will star Johnny Depp as Tonto and have Gore Verbinski in the director’s seat. Disney insiders say the deal is not 100% done but that the contracts are being written. For Hollywood insiders it’s not a shock that Hammer, who turned heads with his dual performance as the Winklevoss twins in “The Social Network,” got the role (after all, the rumors have been well circulated) but for less-immersed film fans the decision might seem like a big head scratcher. You can hear the popcorn nation asking: “Depp will be a sidekick to this guy?”

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The decision may make more sense on closer inspection. Bruckheimer recently explained it to our Rebecca Keegan this way: “You want somebody who can do the humor and somebody who’s attractive and charismatic, but I think it will be somebody who’s not that well-known. That’s my guess.”

More importantly, the masked man may own the title of the film but, really, Tonto will be the star of this adventure, and his Kemo Sabe will be the straight man. At least that’s what Verbinski told us earlier this year:  “The only version of ‘The Lone Ranger’ I’m interested in doing is ‘Don Quixote’ told from Sancho Panza’s point of view. And hence I was honest early on with Johnny that Tonto is the part. We’re not going to do it [straight]. Everyone knows that story. I don’t want to tell that story.”

— Geoff Boucher


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