Director Gore Verbinski Talks LONE RANGER; Likens Johnny Depp as Tonto to a Crazy Sancho Panza

     February 17, 2011


So far, Johnny Depp has been the public voice of the Lone Ranger adaptation, discussing the opportunity to salute Native American culture and his wish to see Brad Pitt or George Clooney in the title role.  But director Gore Verbinski has a movie to promote — the same one as Depp, actually.  The animated film Rango, which opens March 4.  And so we have access to Verbinski as he sets out on this high profile adaptation:

“It’s just at the primordial stage. We’re working on the screenplay, but if we can pull that off — find that story I want to tell — then it will be worth doing.”

Verbinski went on to discuss Depp’s role as Tonto and compared the storytelling to Don Quixote.  Read what he had to say after the jump.

gore_verbinskiDepp was once attached to play the modern equivalent of Sancho Panza in Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, but had to drop out after Gilliam was cursed by a coven of witches.  Things have come full circle, as Sancho Panza is the model for the new Tonto:

“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… I want the version from the untrustworthy narrator who might be a little crazy — but somehow the question is, is he crazy or is the world crazy? That, I find fascinating.”

Well, if you want a narrator might be a little crazy, they don’t come more manic than Mr. Depp.  Of course, there’s a price to pay for that mania.  Verbinski noted to Coming Soon that Lone Ranger probably won’t shoot until next year because Depp is busy with Dark Shadows.

That just gives the filmmakers time to secure the perfect Lone Ranger.  Hero Complex brought up the Far Side comic that lampooned The Lone Ranger (pictured below) in their discussion with Verbinski.  Though he had never seen that particular Far Side panel, Verbinski liked the sound of it, which brought him back to the relationship at the core of the film:

“Well, that’s kind of the world we want to be in. It’s an odd couple, the two of them together. Getting that tone right is going to be a blast.”

Lone Ranger is scheduled to hit theaters in 2012.


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