When it was reported that Johnny Depp would be playing Tonto in the adaptation of The Lone Ranger, some were left wondering why an actor of Depp’s stature would take the sidekick role. The answer: he wouldn’t. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Depp expresses bewilderment that Tonto would take orders from The Lone Ranger:
“I remember watching [the 1949-1957 TV series in reruns] as a kid, with Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore, and going: ‘Why is the f—ing Lone Ranger telling Tonto what to do?'”
Apparently Johnny Depp was a foul-mouthed kid. Hit the jump for what he and director Gore Verbinski (Rango) are planning for the film adaptation.
Depp tells EW:
“I liked Tonto, even at that tender age, and knew Tonto was getting the unpleasant end of the stick here. That’s stuck with me. And when the idea came up [for the movie], I started thinking about Tonto and what could be done in my own small way try to — ‘eliminate’ isn’t possible — but reinvent the relationship, to attempt to take some of the ugliness thrown on the Native Americans, not only in The Lone Ranger, but the way Indians were treated throughout history of cinema, and turn it on its head.”
And if you’re wondering, “Wait. Isn’t Depp a white guy? Won’t this be redface?”, Depp is part-Indian (or so he was told growing up):
“I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line. My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.”
The Lone Ranger is set to hit theaters some time next year.