Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Johnny Depp is Tonto

I don’t know quite what to make of this. In some part of my brain, the new version of The Lone Ranger still stands as one of those much-discussed projects that will never actually get made. (Like, erm, John Carter.) …

Sun, Mar 11, 2012, 22:32

   

I don’t know quite what to make of this. In some part of my brain, the new version of The Lone Ranger still stands as one of those much-discussed projects that will never actually get made. (Like, erm, John Carter.) Yet here it is. Just look at Johnny Depp as Tonto. He appears to have some sort of raven nailed to his head. Oh well. I suppose the film must be anthropologically correct. One can only imagine how special interest groups might behave if Hollywood had attached the wrong sort of bird to a native American’s cranium.

The projected film reminds us of one of the more puzzling collaborations in American film. We think of Mr Depp as being Tim Burton’s right-hand man. But he is almost as closely tied to Gore Verbinski, director of The Lone Ranger. I’m sure that Gore is a very nice man. But it is annoying the way he keeps leading the Deppster astray. Four wretched Pirates film and the (to my mind) overpraised Rango: that’s quite a lot of time they’ve spent together. Then again, I should, perhaps, be a little less naive. Those Pirates films helped turn Depp from a mere star into — do the sums — the most bankable male actor on the planet. And he still manages to retain a degree of artistic respectability. Why would Johnny say no?

But what of The Lone Ranger? I have one prediction. Barring a change in the cultural tides, the native American will turn out to be the wiser of the two and will reveal the Ranger (played by the charismatic Armie Hammer) to be a bit of a dope. There doesn’t seem to be any other way of working that racial dynamic in the modern age. Mind you, if they are intending to be politically correct they might have cast a full-blooded Native American — Depp believes himself to have some of that blood — in the role of Tonto. We have a long wait before finding the answer to these questions. The Lone Ranger is currently scheduled for release in 2013.

Oh, one more thing. If he really is the “Lone” Ranger then why is always hanging out with that Injun?

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