“John Reid: Hi ho Silver, away!
Tonto: Don’t ever do that again.
John Reid: Sorry…“
5 years ago, today (June 22), “The Lone Ranger” premiered at the Hyperion Theater in the Hollywood Land district of Disney California Adventure. The cast attended to the premiere and the proceeds was donated to the American Indian College Fund. At the same day the movie was selected as a closing film for the Taormina Film Festival in Italy. Later, the film was remastered and released theatrically on July 3, and in several countries in the following days. The film which is based on the radio series of the same name,
received mixed to negative reviews and was a commercial failure, grossing $260 million worldwide against an estimated $225 million production budget plus an additional $150 million marketing budget.
> Synopsis: Johnny plays a Native American spirit warrior called Tonto, whose recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice-taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption in the Old West, in a thrilling adventure infused with action and humor, bringing to life the famed masked hero through new eyes.
* This is Depp’s third western movie after Dead Man and Rango.
* 18 years after, In Dead Man, Johnny played a similar role, but he was “the white man” being helped by a Native American.
* In Portugal the movie is called “O Mascarilha”. Also, Tonto means “fool” in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, and in the Spanish versions of this film, Tonto was renamed as Toro, which means “bull.”
* Busy agenda: Johnny was filming the second Pirates of the Caribbean film, when the director Verbinski suggested the role of Tonto to him and later, the filming was slated to begin after Depp finished work on “Dark Shadows”. Speaking about Pirates, Johnny’s character Tonto also has a headband, beads in his hair and eye shadow quite similar to Jack Sparrow.
* Johnny Depp used to be two hours late to the script “table read”, because he wanted to read in full make-up and costume at the Albuquerque Studios production office. In the first time the actor Armie Hammer met him, he came up fully dressed as Tonto.
* Johnny Depp’s make-up and costume were inspired by artist Kirby Sattler’s painting “I am Crow”. Based on the painting, Depp came up with the idea of using a dead crow in his head, but he didn’t realized that the bird in the painting was meant to be flying behind the man’s head, and not as a head piece. Later, in an interview, he explained: “It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.”
* All actors went through boot camp to learn how to authentically shoot guns, ride horses, gun slinging and lassoing. But, during filming, Johnny was doing his own stunt when his steed is seen bucking, causing the actor to lose his grip and fall to the side. The horse continued galloping as Depp nearly got trampled under his horse before falling onto the ground. Minutes later, while the doctors were checking if he was OK, He joked: “Actually the positive thing is? My coccyx didn’t take it.” Then added: “Chicks dig a broken bone”. Later in an interview, he confessed “I figured fear would kick in but it didn’t, I was very calm.” In another interview, Johnny thanked his stunt horse, Scout, for saving his life after the violent fall. After Scout dragged him, Johnny detached from the saddle, and the horse jumped over him to avoid stepping on him. Depp suffered only minor bruises and scrapes, but says it could have been a lot worse if the horse had stepped on him.
* Due to the negative American critics’ reviews, Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, Armie Hammer, and Johnny Depp openly criticized them, with Depp saying "the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film”. The movie had several problems (including bad weather, wildfire, a chickenpox outbreak, and the accidental death of a crew member) and budgetary concerns. These problems almost led to the film’s cancelation. Verbinski, Bruckheimer, Depp, and Hammer equally deferred 20% percent of their salaries, to minimize the overall cost.
* Some people have wondered if the film would have been better if Johnny played the Lone Ranger instead of Tonto. But he always stated that he “never wanted to be the cowboy”, always preferring the Indian and approaching Tonto as “a silent film character”.
* There were some controversy concerned the casting of Depp as a Native American and whether the film would present a positive and accurate representation of the Comanche, despite the producers’ citing the presence of an adviser from the Comanche Nation. Depp has stated he believes he has Native American ancestry, possibly from a great-grandmother, and said that he considered the role as a personal attempt "to try to right the wrongs of the past”, in reference to portrayals of Native American culture in the media. Todd McDaniels, a linguist at the Comanche Nation College, commented favorably on Depp’s attempts to speak the Comanche language, which has 25 to 30 living native speakers. “The words were there, the pronunciation was shaky but adequate.“ In the other hand, most Native Americans sees Tonto as an offending stereotype and hardly would agree to play the character.