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From his boozy romp in "The Rum Diary" to his gothic tribute in "Dark Shadows," Johnny Depp is no slouch when it comes to character research. But his upcoming role as Tonto in Gore Verbinski's "Lone Ranger" might take the cake.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Depp has been initiated into the Comanche Indian tribe, a New Mexico-based group of Indians. The actor was invited to join after they learned about his involvement in the role.

"I reached out, and Johnny was very receptive to the idea," LaDonna Harris, president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, told the website Indian Country. "He seemed proud to receive the invitation, and we were honored that he so enthusiastically agreed... He's a very thoughtful human being, and throughout his life and career, he has exhibited traits that are aligned with the values and worldview that Indigenous peoples share."

From the looks of the first photo, Depp has already breathed new life into the role of Tonto, finding inspiration in Native American portraitist, Kirby Sattler. "I thought: Tonto's got a bird on his head," Depp told EW. "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."

"The Lone Ranger" -- starring Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter, William Fichtner and Tom Wilkinson -- hits theaters May 31, 2013.

[via THR]