Meet The Lone Ranger’s lead­ing man..........

Ar­mie Ham­mer’s luck led him to The Lone Ranger, writes Sandy Co­hen

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS -

IF it weren’t for the movie Home Alone, Ar­mie Ham­mer might not be star­ring in The Lone Ranger. See­ing the 1990 Ma­caulay Culkin hit in­spired Ham­mer to be­come an ac­tor.

‘‘I had a dream that night that I was the kid in the house with the blow­torch and all that stuff and think­ing, ‘This is awe­some! I love act­ing!’’’ Ham­mer says, laugh­ing as he re­calls the thoughts of his 11-year-old self.

‘‘I knew this was for me. It was the only thing I wanted to do.’’

He con­vinced his par­ents to let him quit high school to pur­sue his dream, and now the 26-year-old ac­tor is play­ing one of the most revered Amer­i­can char­ac­ters in a big-bud­get block­buster star­ring Johnny Depp.

Af­ter a bumpy start that in­cluded a brief re­turn to school, he al­ready counts Clint East­wood, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ju­lia Roberts and David Fincher among his past col­lab­o­ra­tors. Ham­mer gained no­tice play­ing the Win­klevoss twins in 2010’s cel­e­brated The So­cial Net­work.

Then he earned a Screen Ac­tors Guild Award nom­i­na­tion for his sup­port­ing role in 2011’s J Edgar.

But with The Lone Ranger, the ac­tor steps squarely into the spot­light with his first bona fide lead­ing-man role.

‘‘It’s like I can’t be­lieve I’ve been this lucky,’’ Ham­mer says with a sin­cer­ity be­lied by his football-cap­tain good looks. Though he au­di­tioned for the part sev­eral times, di­rec­tor Gore Verbin­ski knew im­me­di­ately he’d found his Lone Ranger.

‘‘When I first met him, I just knew he was the guy,’’ says Verbin­ski, who likens Ham­mer to ‘‘some­body who’s a lit­tle out-of-time, like see­ing Gary Cooper walk into a su­per­mar­ket or some­thing’’.

‘‘He’s like this clas­si­cal lead­ing man, and that’s not to say that he isn’t con­tem­po­rary,’’ the di­rec­tor con­tin­ued.

‘‘Ar­mie’s tall, hand­some, and gen­uine, and who doesn’t want to throw that into a meat grinder?’’

Ham­mer plays law­man John Reid and Depp is Tonto in this ori­gin story of how the Lone Ranger came to wear his mask. To pre­pare for the role, Ham­mer spent months im­mersed in all The Lone Ranger ra­dio and TV episodes and books and comics he could find and per­fected his gun-sling­ing and horserid­ing skills at a three-week ‘‘cow­boy camp’’.

He trav­elled the Amer­i­can South­west shoot­ing the film for the bet­ter part of a year, dur­ing which he be­friended (and in­spired) the crew and hung out with his world-fa­mous co-star.

‘‘He’s just the nicest dude,’’ he says of Depp, ‘‘and I was so amazed at how nor­mal the guy is’’.

Ham­mer ex­udes an en­gaged op­ti­mism that Verbin­ski says per­me­ated the set and even shows in Ham­mer’s publi­cist’s of­fice dur­ing a brief stop on a world­wide press tour to pro­mote the film.

‘‘I’m con­vinced I’ve hit the pin­na­cle in terms of ex­pe­ri­ences while mak­ing a movie,’’ Ham­mer says, beam­ing.

‘‘This was the best crew I have ever worked with, best ac­tors, best ev­ery­thing, and we shot in the most amaz­ing lo­ca­tions.’’

He’s still get­ting the hang of globe-trot­ting pro­mo­tions, though, and says he’s not look­ing for­ward to the fame likely to come with the film’s open­ing. Ham­mer en­joys walk­ing in his neigh­bour­hood with­out much no­tice. But he has ap­peared on a few mag­a­zine cov­ers, and his face looms large on bill­boards all over the city.

‘‘For­tu­nately, though – I’m kind of re­ly­ing on this – I’m wear­ing masks in so much of the ad­ver­tis­ing and stuff, so that it’s prob­a­bly not like, ‘Hey, that’s the guy’,’’ he says.

‘‘I’m not ex­cited about (the fame). I don’t even like talk­ing about it. I feel dis­gusted with my­self if I even just say the term ‘my fans’.’’

Mar­ried to TV star El­iz­a­beth Cham­bers since 2010, Ham­mer says his off-cam­era life keeps him grounded.

‘‘I keep all my orig­i­nal friends. I’m mar­ried. I have a life. I have a dog,’’ he says.

‘‘I don’t get wrapped up in all of this. I’m de­light­fully am­biva­lent to­ward most of it.’’

He ac­knowl­edges – and Dis­ney re­minds him – that fans are crit­i­cal to the film’s suc­cess, and his own, since he has as­pi­ra­tions be­yond act­ing. Ham­mer ad­mires Mel Brooks and Robert Red­ford – artists who cre­ate their own char­ac­ters and projects.

‘‘I don’t want to for­ever just say other peo­ple’s words. I don’t for­ever want to be an ac­tor. I want to be re­spon­si­ble for my own con­tent,’’ Ham­mer says. ‘‘Di­rect­ing is the end game.’’ Next up for Ham­mer is Guy Richie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which starts shoot­ing later this year. Then he hopes to find an in­die pro­ject.

‘‘Some­thing where I have to pay for my own hous­ing in the mid­dle of the movie,’’ he says.

It’s all part of Ham­mer’s con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion that be­gan with Home Alone.

‘‘I would take any role in any movie if I thought the peo­ple I would get a chance to work with had some­thing I could learn,’’ Ham­mer says.

‘‘I didn’t go to school. This is my school, and I should be learn­ing ev­ery day.’’

The Lone Ranger opens to­day.

Above: Johnny Depp (left), as Tonto, and Arnie Ham­mer as John Reid, aka The Lone Ranger. Left: He­lena Bon­ham Carter as Red.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.