Armie Hammer just wrapped his first week of shooting Disney‘s remake of The Lone Ranger; he recently told IndieWire that he’s having a blast. “I feel like a little kid playing cowboy, like when I was six years old,” he said of playing the Texas-Ranger-turned-vigilante. “If the next seven months are like this first week, I’m the luckiest actor in the entire world.” To mark the auspicious occasion, Disney has released the first image of Armie and his co-star Johnny Depp as his Native American guide Tonto.
Last year, several outlets were outraged that Depp was cast as Tonto, though a biography attests that the actor is part Cherokee. The way they decided to depict Tonto is certainly a deviation from the TV series; in fact, it looks a bit like Captain Jack Sparrow, with the head covering and beads woven in to his hair. That’s not surprising, since Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski is helming this Old West buddy comedy.
Those are Armie’s words, not ours. Plus, Depp stressed the equal footing between the two iconic characters, telling Entertainment Weekly, “Tonto was a sidekick in all the Lone Rangerseries. [This film] is a very different approach to that partnership. And a funny one I think.”
Armie also told IndieWire that he’s grateful for his co-star’s fame so that he’s not the only one who has to carry the film. ”Let’s be honest—when Johnny Depp walks in the room, everyone’s excited to see him,” he said. “There’s no mincing words about that, and it’s a great pressure-relief.”
So we now know that Depp is bringing an unconventional take on Tonto (not surprising, considering his work on well-known characters like Willy Wonka) and that as ominous as he looks in the above photo, there won’t be supernatural elements to this movie. No werewolves, according to Armie, and no wendigos, or shapeshifters. Still, we think these two will bring enough comedy and action that we won’t miss those elements.
For reference, here’s the original Lone Ranger and Tonto from the 1950s:
Disney’s The Lone Ranger comes out May 2013.
Top photo: Peter Mountain