'The Lone Ranger' remake has been languishing in development hell for some time now, but it looks like Jerry Bruckheimer has rescued the project for Disney and will be producing -- possibly with his 'Pirates'' partners Gore Verbinski, who is now considering the director's chair, and Johnny Depp playing Tonto.
Verbinski just finished his first animated feature, the 'Fear and Loathing-esque' film 'Rango,' about a chameleon on a journey of self-discovery. Depp does the voice for the lizard. Of course, Depp and Verbinski have a history of working together before that on the 'Pirates' series, which would make for a cozy, gun-slinging reunion. 'Revolutionary Road' writer Justin Haythe took over the screenwriting duties back in March, replacing 'Pirates' scribes Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio -- and ruining the complete 'Pirates of the Caribbean' reunion in the process.
Details about Haythe's script are being kept under lock and key, but one thing we do know is that Tonto won't be swapping genders. Early versions of the project were aiming for a 'Mask of Zorro' vibe and there were discussions about changing the Indian sidekick into a female love interest. Fortunately, that's been scrapped. The original story finds the American Old West characters as blood brothers -- after Tonto nurses The Lone Ranger back to health following an ambush by outlaws.
It could be a while before we see this project actually get underway with Depp's always full schedule. The titular Jack Sparrow is currently filming 'Pirates 4' and will be starting Tim Burton's 'Dark Shadows' remake early next year. The bigger questions in all this may be, who will be donning the famed mask for the leading role of Texas Ranger? And why is a leading man playing the sidekick? These characters were once a part of the pop culture landscape, but the masked lawman has been missing in action for quite some time. Can modern audiences find relevance in 'The Lone Ranger?' Bruckheimer and company are betting they can, but we'll have to wait and see if their gamble pays off when the film finally hits theaters.