Director Gore Verbinski is currently in New Mexico filming his big-budget adaptation of The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. Depp will play Tonto, the sidekick of the Ranger (Hammer), and the film co-stars Helena Bonham Carter, Ruth Wilson, James Frain, and Tom Wilkinson. There aren’t any details on the plot, but in October, Depp said they were re-inventing the character of Tonto to be more than a sidekick, and that “Tonto probably believes that The Lone Ranger is his slave, his sidekick.” Verbinski has now provided some new details on the film along with updates on his other projects including Cary Fukunaga‘s Spaceless, Chris Milk‘s Bitterroot, and the new adaptation of the board game Clue. Hit the jump for more.
“I don’t know where this idea of werewolves came from. It’s never been in any draft I’ve worked on,” Verbinski explained. “But there’s a kind of Native American overlay of omens and other things happening that we don’t fully understand.”
Again, this comes back to The Lone Ranger being the title of the movie, but Tonto probably being the protagonist (or at least the Captain Jack to the Lone Ranger’s Will Turner). There was also rumor of a massive train chase sequence, but Verbinski wouldn’t provide any details on what he had planned for that set piece.
Verbinski also provided an update on the western Bitterroot, which comes from a Black List script by Michael Gilio “about an aging rancher who looks for justice after his life savings has been taken from him in a bank scam.” Verbinski was originally set to direct but now he’ll produce with Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures. He said that the movie speaks to the current social and political climate:
“It’s about a great man who is broken, loads up his shotgun, gets on his horse, and rides into town to get his heart medicine.” Verbinski embraces the contemporary parallels. “I think people would want somebody to make this right. I think it’s a great time for a zeitgeist film. You want to root for someone to go fix it.”
Music video director Chris Milk will now direct and Verbinski says Milk “is more than ready,” adding, “And nobody else.”
Regarding Spaceless, Verbinski says there’s serious movement on the film, which he was trying to direct for 15 years. Now the talented Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre) will take the helm for the story, which is about “an intergalactic assassin who wakes up in a space suit that’s running out of air and little memory of how he got there.” Says Verbinski,
“It’s a really great script and I think Cary is the best up-and-coming young director of actors. To have him be interested in a science fiction film, well, we’re really, really lucky to have him. All the stuff in the script, all the cleverness, will be intact but you will care a lot about these guys, more than if it was done by anybody else.” Verbinski says that the film is very much a go, noting that Fukunaga is “doing a rewrite and we’re starting to do a budget breakdown.”
Finally, Universal has dumped all of its Hasbro properties including a new adaptation of the board game Clue. Verbinski was attached to direct, but now he simply says, “I actually don’t know what’s going on with that. I think that [Hasbro] had a deal at Universal and then Universal kept Battleship I guess, and let the rest of the things go?” Yep. That’s what happened.
Verbinski will continue to work on The Lone Ranger although he’ll swing by the Oscars on February 26th where he’ll almost certainly win one for Best Animated Feature for Rango. The Lone Ranger is due out May 31, 2013.