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Disney Shelves LONE RANGER Adaptation


The Lone Ranger

Cowboys & werewolves?  Not any time soon, as Disney has shown by nixing preproduction on producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s adaptation of The Lone Ranger. Just two months before shooting was to take place in New Mexico under the direction of Gore Verbinski, the project was shelved due to a bloated budget of $250 million.  Disney’s comfort maxed out at around $200 million.

The period western was set to star Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean series) as Tonto and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the Ranger himself.  Supporting roles also included Ruth Wilson (TV series Luther) as the female lead, with Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II), Barry Pepper (True Grit), Tom Wilkinson (The Green Hornet) and Dwight Yoakam (Dirty Girl).

Money might not have been the only reason to reconsider going forward with the film. The rumored plot of the picture will not focus on whom the movie is titled after, but Depp’s character, Tonto. The Native American “side-kick” is said to take the lead along with Native spirits to fight werewolves. After director Jon Favreau’s lackluster performance at the box office with Cowboys & Aliens, the studio doesn’t seem that interested in another cowboy-combo. The Lone Ranger was also scheduled to be released December 21, 2012, the same day as the highly anticipated World War Z.

According to Deadline, an executive insider says, “there’s always a chance it could still go.”  One theory is that the project isn’t completely dead, but that they’re just pulling back and reworking the budget before going any further.  But Disney CEO Robert Iger seems to have other ideas:  “We feel we're better off by reducing the size of the slate and making films that are bigger and increasingly more risky."  Another theory is another studio could partner with Disney and help with the finances to complete the film.

We were there when The Lone Ranger was originally announced (two years ago, when George Clooney was said to be the Ranger).  So far, the only constant with this project has been Johnny Depp’s involvement.  Depp reported has a “pay or play” contract, so he’ll make bank no matter what.  We’ll keep you informed as things develop.

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