Johnny Depp Reveals the Inspiration Behind His LONE RANGER Makeup

     April 23, 2012

the-lone-ranger-johnny-depp-armie-hammer-slice

When it was confirmed that Johnny Depp would be starring as Tonto in director Gore Verbinski’s big screen iteration of The Lone Ranger, it was pretty much a given that the makeup-happy Depp would come up with a quirky design for the Native American sidekick.  We finally got our first look at Depp in full makeup a few months ago (with some more photos dropping over the past few weeks) and, expectedly, it’s a little out there.  Not only is his face completely covered in paint, but his headdress features a very prominent dead animal at its apex.

Depp recently took the time to explain the inspiration behind his Tonto design, talking about how he settled upon the look we got a glimpse of back in March.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.  And yes—he talks about the bird.

kirby-sattler-paintingSpeaking with EW, Depp revealed that his inspiration for Tonto came from a painting:

“I’d actually seen a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler, and looked at the face of this warrior and thought: That’s it. The stripes down the face and across the eyes … it seemed to me like you could almost see the separate sections of the individual, if you know what I mean… There’s this very wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain, these slivers of the individual. That makeup inspired me.”

Fair enough. But what about that bird, Mr. Depp?

“It just so happened Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top. I thought: Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.”

the-lone-ranger-johnny-deppA spirit guide bird; well sure.  But does the makeup have any historical basis or is this just Depp being his artistic, imaginative self?  Sattler says his paintings are a mixed bag:

“The portraits I paint are composites created from a variety of visual references coupled with my imagination. While being broadly based in a historical context, my paintings are not intended to be viewed as historically accurate. I used the combination of face paint and headdress as an artistic expression to symbolize the subject’s essence and his affinity to the Crow.”

So while decidedly different and visually appealing, we shouldn’t put much factual stake in Depp’s Lone Ranger look.  Nevertheless, I’m intrigued to actually see this Tonto in action.  It’s one thing to see how the character looks, but Depp has no doubt tailored an entire speech pattern and physical gait specifically for his iteration of Tonto.  Hopefully we get a trailer sometime this summer, as the film is slated to open on May 31st, 2013.

the-lone-ranger-johnny-depp-armie-hammer

Around The Web

Latest News

LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Reboot in the Works at Fox

Sean Connery is surely thrilled.

BURYING THE EX: New Trailer Teases Joe Dante’s Horror Rom-Com

Anton Yelchin, Alexandra Daddario and Ashley Green star in the horror master's latest.

POINT BREAK Remake Trailer Dives into the World of Extreme Sports

Edgar Ramirez and Luke Bracey fill the roles previously played by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.

BELLE Director to Helm David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in A UNITED KINGDOM

Amma Asante will direct the true story of royal family member Seretse Khama, who came under fire when he married a white woman in 1949.

Poster Roundup: POINT BREAK, JURASSIC WORLD, MAGIC MIKE XXL, and More

Plus the posters for Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’ and the patriot dog movie, ‘Max’.

SAN ANDREAS: 18 Things to Know About the Dwayne Johnson Disaster Movie

Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatti, and more spill the beans about their new film, Spielberg influences, and more.

THE COLLIDER PODCAST: Episode 7 – TOMORROWLAND

Matt and Adam talk about the film's themes, flaws, goals, post-production, and how the movie relates to the careers of director Brad Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof.

Second Chance: Cameron Crowe’s ELIZABETHTOWN Deserves Another Look

"Manic Pixie Dream Girl" aside, it's time to reconsider Crowe's much-maligned 'Vanilla Sky' follow-up.

THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL: First Trailer For the Smash Sundance Hit

Writer/director Marielle Heller's feature debut tackles the tricky subject matter of the female sexual awakening.

New X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Set Photo Teases Caliban

The mutant has a strong connection to Oscar Isaac's villainous Apocalypse.

Page 1 of 3,96612345...102030...Last »