‘Lone Ranger’ first look: Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer saddle up

March 08, 2012 | 9:40 a.m.
lone ranger johnny depp armie hammer Lone Ranger first look: Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer saddle up

Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the masked man in "The Lone Ranger" (Peter Mountain/Disney)

The buccaneer genre was a Hollywood castaway before Johnny Depp, Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer proved the skeptics wrong with their “Pirates of the Caribbean” mega-success — now the same trio and rising star Armie Hammer want to disprove the conventional view that Westerns are snakebit when it comes to attracting young moviegoers.

Producer Bruckheimer used Twitter on Thursday morning to give the world the first look at director Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger,” the Disney film that overcame some oddly public budget shoot-outs and will ride against the industry assumption that the Hollywood Western long ago rode off into the sunset as a viable popcorn prospect with young audiences. Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys & Aliens” experiment didn’t do anything to change that view, although Verbinski’s “Rango” put up an animated argument against the perception.

The photo shows Depp as Tonto — described by Disney as “a spirit warrior on a personal quest” — and Hammer as the masked man who became a pop-culture sensation with radio and television audiences of past generations. Verbinski (now a newly minted Oscar winner) told Hero Complex in early 2011 that he would be taking the mythology in a very different direction and that this version of Tonto (just like Jack Sparrow in “Pirates”) would use Depp’s nimble charisma to add a touch of the absurd to the straight-faced screen traditions.

“The only version of ‘The Lone Ranger’ I’m interested in doing is ‘Don Quixote’ told from Sancho Panza’s point of view,” Verbinski said. “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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111 Responses to ‘Lone Ranger’ first look: Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer saddle up

  1. helle dorr says:

    @ Arthur cause he got it in his blood and who else could do it better? no one hes the best actor in the world

  2. Marko says:

    Because it's funny?

  3. Queen Elizabeth says:

    Because of his Cherokee heritage and more importantly great acting skills.

  4. Arthur says:

    Why is Johnny Depp playing a Native American character?

  5. Johnny2bad says:

    Guess there weren't any Native American actors available for the role of Tonto. Just the latest example of Hollywood's lifelong racist attitudes.

  6. sara says:

    I'm native american, and this film group better do a good job of it, including Depp whose work should show some calibur and not mock us like the rest of history. We're not like the picture that Hollywood shows to the world, but even today, we continue to stand with bated breath every time a movie comes out to see what else will be depicted as the "true native". We too, find humor, in the absurd.

  7. sallyrover says:

    First Nations actor Saginaw Grant is in the cast, Depp appears to be riffing on "Dead Man" but switching over to the "Nobody" part, and there are two actors from "Deadwood"–Leon Rippy and W. Ear Brown, so I am very excited about this!

  8. curt says:

    Its a shame hollywood is revamping a lot of old stuff that was done better once. I wish they would start tackling serious "old-school" sci-fi (Clark, Sturgeon, EE Doc Smith (Lensmen), Azimov (Foundation), etc. Those would be awesome movies. Looking forward to E. Borroughs, "John Carter" this friday.

  9. Don Menendez says:

    The name given to Tonto by the Lone Ranger is Spanish for fool and Kime Sabe used by Tonto for the Lone Ranger means meathead in some indian language.

  10. johnrj08 says:

    This movie is going to be a joke. Casting Depp as Tonto signals an upside down story that will probably give us a Lone Ranger reminiscent of Adam West's Batman. While the Klinton Spillsbury film was an awful portrayal of the hero, at least they cast a Native American to play Tonto (even though he couldn't act). Spillsbury's performance in that film was so awful that James Keach had to dub his voice throughout the entire movie. I met Clayton Moore years ago, when he was an old man. Even then, he WAS/IS the Lone Ranger. This was the studio's chance to rejuvenate that icon, but it appears that it couldn't bring itself to do a straight-faced version of the Masked Man. So, instead of getting a great franchise of Lone Ranger adventures, this will be a one-shot deal. And not with a silver bullet.

  11. Tmiller says:

    Says the guy who screamed his head off when Idris Elba was cast in "Thor."

  12. Vinnie Cassaro says:

    I do not want to hear any "Why isn't a NATIVE AMERICAN" playing Tonto ?. Depp is an actor who brings a certain demension to a character and that IS the reason he's playing Tonto. Let's get over this politicaly correct BS and get on with life and stop looking into EVERYTHING with a microscope !!!.

  13. Jae Hall says:

    MORE IMPORTANTLY why isnt a brown-skinned person playing TONTO… Wilmer from the 70s show perhaps?!

  14. anon says:

    why is everyone paying so much attention to johnny depp as Tonto? don't get me wrong, I'm a Depp fan, but I'm a Lone Ranger fan first. No one has mentioned anything so far about how great Armie hammer looks as the Lone Ranger. I hate it when lead actors get outshined by their support because of their name. Same thing happened in The Fighter. Again, don't get me wrong, Christian Bale did a great job, but hardly anyone gave any props to Mark Wahlberg and the 4 1/2 years of training he did to be Micky Ward. the movie's called the Lone Ranger, not Tonto, not the Lone Ranger and Tonto, or anything else. It's the Lone Ranger. Give Hammer some attention, he deserves it.

  15. Ginger says:

    He channeled Keith Richards as Jack Sparrow but looks like this time he's channeling Gene Simmons from Kiss. Ha Ha ha

  16. Ben Dover says:

    He’s taking the NATIVE part of native american the wrong way.

  17. JustaGuest says:

    Johnny Depp's costume is ridiculous. Looks like this movie won't be any good at all.

  18. Billie B says:

    I so agree with Vinnie Depp will be great…I can't imagine what he and Armie and Gore have in store for us but I am sure it will be wonderful.

  19. Truth Be Told says:

    The Lone Ranger was also an indigenous American, but of the USA. Here, he's being played by the eurasian / caucasian actor Hammer. Tonto is a native American character of the existing nations. Johnny Depp is a eurasian / caucasian purebreed who lives in France. Don't kid yourself. This movie is being produced in the eurasian hemisphere, Depps and Hammers homeland. Make no mistake about that. Disney doesn't want America to go to its theme parks or watch its movies, which by all accounts is the growing trend in America. Good riddance, Disney.

  20. chris says:

    @Arthur.. Because quality make-up can make you look just like a Native American.. And so can a crow on your head..

  21. Chris says:

    Bruckheimer has Depp as Tonto not because of Johnny's "Cherokee heritage" — which sounds suspect — but because the guy sells movie tickets. I agree that a Native American actor should play Tonto because Tonto is a Native American. But the Hollywood reality is that they would never make this movie without Depp. Even with him, it's going to be a tough sell, and I'm a fan of Westerns. Gore Verbinski went off the rails with his two Pirates sequels, which were an incoherent mess, so maybe this will be his comeback. Rango was OK (Depp and Verbinksi again), so maybe there's hope!

  22. Hazza says:

    Depp’s a great actor and he can play almost any role well and anyone who says different needs glasses

  23. general populace says:

    right on Vinnie Cassaro & Don Menendez…nailed it!!

  24. Kathy says:

    Depp tattoos look a bit bizarre.

  25. Guest says:

    Jack "Nobody" Sparrow.
    A $250 million dollar remake of Depp's own "Dead Man".
    What a waste of money and talent.

  26. Guest says:

    Deborah Leigh said….Johnny's costume/makeup makes me disinclined to see this movie. So do the tatoos. But then I don't know if he wears that the whole time. What's the context? I've never seen someone where a crow like that. It kindof looks like a mishmash of outfits from various tribes. If I go it will be only on a matinee and to see Saginaw Grant. It's always a treat to see him dance Southern Straight at pow wows. (I dance Southern Cloth, for those of you who know dance styles) I enjoy Johnny, don't get me wrong, and it will be interesting to see what he does with this role, but the costume/makeup (visible tatoos) are wrong. It was interesting to find out that Johnny is Cherokee as well as European.

    To Truth Be Told, I never heard that the Lone Ranger was Indian. That's a first. Johnny's grandmother is Cherokee, ergo he is Cherokee too. He no longer lives in France, but is in Los Angeles. And who cares if he lived in France? Indians can and do live wherever.

    To Chris, why is Depp's heritage suspect anymore than yours?

  27. ddeleon says:

    Why not have a Real Native American be Tonto… such as…

    I mean Johnnie is a Great Actor but there are Great actors that are Real Native Americans who can also play the roll of Tonto…. and what is her wearing on his head????? LOL

  28. arminda says:

    well, i can't wait to see how this turns out, in all honesty it can't be worse than the original lone ranger, where tonto spoke like a dimwit and was so stereotyped. i am sure johnny is gonna rock this role all the way to the rez……after all he is one great character and always gives 110% to any role that he plays, that is what i love about him….

  29. Lon Blum says:

    If anyone can do it Johnny can! Wait folks, see the movie before we judge so harshly!
    Have you seen what has won Oscars in the past?

  30. MadeInUSA says:

    Truth be told, neither one of those actors are eurasian/caucasian decent. What's your problem with eurasian/caucasians anyway?

  31. ronny says:

    Tonto was always the more interesting character of the two. Me and my friends always thought Tonto was the cool one. He always had to save the Lone Ranger. And Tonto is going to be the main character in this movie, as it should be. And Johnny Depp does create the look of his characters. And this one is great. This is what he’s known for, playing really great, weird characters. I LOVE THE FREAKS AND WEIRDOS. This will be another great Depp movie. I also have Native American blood in me and I am proud of it.

  32. NumunuThekWap says:

    I honestly hope it isnt Native Americans who are dressing Johnny Depp…..and if so what tribe are they. I have seen some feather head dresses but a whole damn bird???? and a crow at that!! I am 3/4 Comanche and if I am not mistaken there was plains Indians on the original Lone Ranger and Tonto…..and I KNOW that is not what a plains Indian would have on…Even Chief Little Bit wouldnt be caught in that 'regailia'!!! That is offensive and it doesnt matter if Johnny Depp is who he is, he should know better. I mean even the Cherokees that he says he comes from, wouldnt have a damn bird on thier head!! And what is with his facial paint?? Is this a comedy??? I know Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where good movies but is that what they are going for in this motion picture?? Are they going with the Blazing Saddles theme??lol….Offensive to Native People all over the US if I do say so myself….and WHO IS THEIR NATIVE AMERICAN COSTUME CONSULTANTS????? ARE THEY EVEN NATIVE?????? Dont look like it to me:)

  33. Eshoppnaround says:

    So I dont get it…..Is Tonto the ousted Native who was kicked out of his tribe for going 'CONTEMPORARY'???LOL…..cause what is that on his head? Not even a switchdancer would go there…hahaha….and that was said by a switchdancer themselves…lol…

  34. Guest says:

    Westerns are NOT DEAD. If only someone would make a decent one, instead of these hokey spoofs, I'd love to see a new, great western.

  35. AmeriDad says:

    Remember, this story is remanufactured mid 1950's TV. Written and filmed for 10 year old boys. Filled with action packed shoot-outs and cheesy lines. This has nothing to do with 'real' indians, history or literature. Please leave your 'right to modify the story' at home, and take it at it's face value.

  36. Whitman says:

    Seriously? It's a movie, people, there's money to be made.

    On the other hand, that's ultimately the same argument used to justify smallpox-laden blanket "donations"…

    Bottom line, in this life, might makes right. Intellectual might, physical might, entrenched financial might, doesn't really matter. If you wanted things to be the way you want, your culture should have invented the spear first. Or the legion. Or gunpowder. Or the cannon. Or the pistol. Or the Atomic Bomb. Or the laser guided missile…

    Whether or not the role of Tonto (a stereotypically negative character that Native Americans have correctly derided from the beginning) is played by an actual Native American (of which there are exactly zero with the box office draw of Depp) is really just an emotionally self-indulgant exercise in outrage.

    Seriously, who cares?

  37. Jerilyn says:

    First Nations actor, Saginaw Grant is Chief Big Bear in this movie.

  38. Jessie says:

    Kind of reminds me of the Bunraku movie that came out last year…

  39. palmstring says:

    The couple looks like the Western version of Batman & Robin, but Depp's character looks as dark as any superhero in a current comic book.

  40. Tristan says:

    Depp is part Native American (Cherokee) people. Look it up.

  41. Candy says:

    Anyone who thinks Johnny can't play a Native American, should watch "The Brave." The Brave is far more dark and serious than many care to see.

  42. palmstring says:

    The couple looks like the rather dark Western version of Batman & Robin. Depp's costume & make up remind me of Capt. Jack Sparrow, but less accessorized. I'm curious as to find out how the film will fare in the reviews based on the photo given as well as the performance & the story.

  43. Kevin says:

    Race and gender should always take precedent. It shouldn’t matter who is the best actor or who is the best qualified, race and gender considerations should always be the deciding factor. If you have a company and need some top administrative position filled certainly statistical race and gender numbers should dictate who is most appropriate for the position. We’ve got to get over who could do the best job or in this case most likely top performance and do what is right and go with gender and race oriented decisions it is only fair. I think government should come in and pass MORE laws and regulations to this effect ensuring perfect balance of race and gender in all areas of business, industry and in this case the arts. Certainly overlooking even being totally blind to race and gender in all aspects of life is unreasonable and ridiculous.

  44. SP/5 David Phillips says:

    "WHAT A DISGRACE, TO THE HISTORY OF THE 'REAL LONE RANGER & TONTO'". What will happen to their horses (Silver & Scout, not to mention ther specific breed of horses) ? Which desciple of Satan, came up with this "WORTHLESS" idea, just to make money.I, among, many,many,many, will "NOT" be seeing this movie,muchless,buying "this" on DVD,BlueRay,OR, even watch it on T.V. (there already are enough "GARBAGE" on the boob-tube,now.

  45. jdfan says:

    This is not the first time Johnny has played a Native American in a movie. A lot of people have not seen the movie because it wasn’t released in the US. The Brave was written and produced by Johnny and his brother Daniel. Johnny said he wanted to this movie because he was tired of Native American being typecast. He wanted to show Tonto as an equal partner to Lone Ranger and not a sidekick.

  46. Cattem says:

    Many of us from Owensbore and the outllying area of Kentucky and Indiana take that smidge of Native American blood very seriously. It was prominent in the features of my Grqndfather, I just happen to show more Swiss in my countance._Johnny will have his own take on the character, and like it or not, it will be done with respect to his heritage.

  47. Jeff Porter says:

    It is very bizarre that Johnny Depp is playing Tonto. And clearly a snub to Native Americans that the role will not be played appropriately by a Native American.

  48. DOUG STONE says:


  49. Connie says:

    I don't know "the lone Ranger" so good and english is not my mother tongue. That's why my question: Isn't it a diss, when you call the Ranger LONE, when Tonto is mostly with him? Just asking, don't want to offend anybody.

  50. Haley says:

    You all realize this is being done for a disney type film, and not to replace the Lone Ranger, and also it is suppose to be based more on Tonto's story. Kinda a comedy line in this film, is what I have heard from some of the film crew. I think Johnny Depp is an excelent actor, as is the rest of the crew, I think it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the end. And yes they need to sell tickets and Depp's name will make or help it happen in the end.

  51. LeeO says:

    Can't JD do ANYTHING without SOOOO much make-up????

  52. Native12 says:

    everybody hate on something! yea i do agree why doesn't a Native play Tonto? first of all, NATIVE cannot act if they are good actors then they are to small or to chubby,but the thing is I'm Native American and i know what our tradition heritage is, and how Johnny Depp's makeup and costume is, IT'S PRETTY DAMN ACCURATE!!!! except the crow on his head shouldn't have been there in the first place! this will be a great film to come.

  53. mr. know-it-all says:

    this movie is going to be AWFUL. looks like another stunning job by the hack known as "depp".

  54. lannie says:

    ummmmmmmmm depp is part native.frist off.. second if ya took time like he did and actually reserch the costume..the natives actually had this. they were called sprit warriors…….depp spent alot of time living with the natives and researching the ways of there life………. sooooo SHUT UP ya blow hards….. like any of ya can do anybetter…………..he earns every peny he makes acting and does a fantastic job……… hes a man of 1000 faces……… why ya all always tearing things down before ya even know whats going on…………….. ya see one frigin picture and ya know it all………………….. again……… shut the yaps and maybe look into it all before ya spew it out ur iggnorant blow holes………………. cripe……. u ppl really need to open up ur minds and close the mouths…

  55. DeppFan says:

    Glad to see this… love Johnny I don't listen much to critics because every one has different likes and dis-likes… I will go see this and make up my own mind "don't need anyone one to do it for me!" We do need fresh minds though instead of all the re-makes that have been pushed out of late even with the new twists that many have tried to spice up these re-makes with. It's hard to out-do the original movie or story-line in any case, though. Johnny does sell movies that's for sure. His talent is far and above lots that are out there.

  56. JADAMARIE says:

    First of all, one of the Native American actors that is working along side Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer has been following up on these comments written by his own Native people and all he can say is he is so ashamed for many of you for your utterly unintelligent ranting on. Opinions are fine, criticizing someone you know nothing about is another thing. FYI there are Native American consultants (Comanches) who work on the set they are the ones who have given the direction/advice for costuming and make up! Everything has been done to not disrespect any culture and in this case, the Native American culture. Everyone on the set are professional and have so much respect for one another. This movie has also created jobs for many Native Americans and the Navajo nation has welcomed the filming of the movie on their land.

    Johnny Depp wanted this movie to happen and Disney shelved this movie and the only way this was going to resurface was for Johnny to star in it as the lead and to also finance the movie himself.

    So, for all of your ranting and carrying on with your criticism….. NAME ONE NATIVE AMERICAN ACTOR right now who currently has the kind of box office draw to pull in the crowd and the money to have financed this film themselves (think a couple millions)? Name ONE???? Then perhaps they could have played Tonto. The movie will go on and it will be box office hit regardless. More than anything the Native actors in the movie and the many Native extras working in it are all very thankful that they have been given this opportunity. The opportunity to make good money to be able to put food on the table and to support themselves and family. So for those who continue to criticize, why don't you all list the wonderful things that you have done for your own people and how you yourself have created jobs for those not working in your own Native community???? Would love to hear from you because you all seem to be the expert perfect people!!!

  57. Dora says:

    Everybody get over yourselves. It:"s a movie, entertainment. Hollywood. Soooooo, if we are going to be entertained. I say bring on Johnnnnnnnnnnnnny, I think he could play the role of Mr. Christian Grey from the book 50 Shades of Grey. Think about it Johnny.

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