Say, who is that masked Lone Ranger actor, anyway?
You might think you don’t know Armie Hammer, but the man who plays The Lone Ranger has already impressed in The Social Network and J Edgar
Mission accomplished. You can practically smell horse bottom from the screen, I suggest. Showering can’t have been optional?
“My wife did insist,” says the actor. “What you don’t realise about horses – because they are beautiful animals – is that they are impossible to potty train. A horse doesn’t give a damn if they are inside. Boom. Now is the time to go. But at the same time, weirdly, you get to like the smell of horse. The smell of horse shit? Not so much. But horses? I developed this Pavlovian thing. You wake up in the morning. You get to the set. You smell horses and you think, ‘Yep. It’s time to go to work.’”
You can see why Depp and co were so keen to get Hammer on a white horse. His best-known parts, thus far, have been fun and clean-cut, because he, in turn, is fun and clean-cut. The great-grandson of oil tycoon and philanthropist Armand Hammer is as close to aristocratic as an American can be. His great-great-grandfather founded the Communist Party in New York; his great-grandmother was the daughter of a Czarist general; his father owns Knoedler Publishing and a TV production company.
Armand the Younger was born in California and grew up attending the finest schools and enclaves that California, Texas and the Cayman Islands had to offer. Did he feel privileged? Did he know the historical import of his coat of arms?
He shakes his head. “I was always taught the opposite. That the person bringing you the food at the dinner table is just as important as the person you’re sitting with. You look everyone in the eye and you say ‘thank you’. That’s how normal human beings behave. I was raised to be nice and to treat everybody as equals and with respect. I was never raised to think we were privileged. Looking back I can see it was not a normal way to grow up. But my parents made every effort to make sure we behaved like normal kids. People are often surprised to find out I’m so normal. But I am. Because my parents would smack the shit out of me if I behaved like a dick.”
And how does a kid amuse himself on the Cayman Islands, anyway? What is there to do?
“Everything. Oh. You have no idea.”
I do now. He’s almost leaping out of his chair with excitement.
“Okay, you don’t have access to all the vices that a city kid has access to, but all you need in life is a machete.”
You played with a machete?
“Oh yeah. You can literally walk out into the groves and think, I’m a little hungry – I guess I’ll cut down a coconut and a mango. We knew all the locals. You could walk to the local gas station by yourself and buy a soda. You knew everybody at school. It was free. It was capricious. We could come home from school, take off the backpack and start walking around. We’d go anywhere we wanted to go. And then I came back to LA and it was the complete opposite. It was not carefree. It was just lockdown.”