December 16, 2011

The $215 million adaptation of The Lone Ranger (that’s a two-hundred and fifteen million dollar adaptation of a TV western) is gearing up to begin production in about six weeks, and director Gore Verbinski (Rango) is filling out his cast. We’ve got Johnny Depp as Tonto, Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, Tom Wilkinson as the villain, Ruth Wilson as the leading lady, and Helena Bonham Carter in a supporting role. Heat Vision now reports that James Frain, who was memorably nasty on HBO’s True Blood, has joined the cast. Frain will be playing “a tough foreman overseeing Chinese and Indian workers” who works for Wilkinson’s character.

We still don’t know a great deal about the plot, other than the fact that Depp wants to buck Native American and sidekick stereotypes and the pic at one point featured werewolves. Verbinski, Depp, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer made considerable cuts in order to bring the budget down to a reasonable number for Disney (which is apparently $215 million). Production is now a “go”, and the super expensive western will start filming early next year.

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