A new in-depp look at

Lat­est in­car­na­tion of The Lone Ranger

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOVIES - ZORIANNA KIT

WHEN the western tele­vi­sion se­ries The Lone Ranger first rode into US homes in the 1949, the masked man was the dash­ing, charm­ing hero and the Na­tive Amer­i­can Tonto his loyal side­kick.

When the movie opens in South Africa on Fri­day, it will be Tonto who takes cen­tre stage. Played by Johnny Depp, Tonto is the brains of the op­er­a­tion.

In an open­ing se­quence – a break­neck fight scene on a run­away train – Tonto di­rects an es­cape from out­laws while a mask­less Lone Ranger, played by Ar­mie Ham­mer, is the naive one, un­sure at the out­set that he was even in dan­ger.

“It’s a story we’ve all heard, but we’ve never heard it from the guy who was there,” the film’s di­rec­tor Gore Verbin­ski, 49, said.

For the new in­car­na­tion, Verbin­ski wanted to up­date the story by mak­ing Tonto more rel­e­vant than just a side­kick. Once the idea was hatched to make him the nar­ra­tor, “it opened a lot of doors” in terms of sto­ry­telling, he said.

Through Tonto’s eyes, au­di­ences get an ori­gin tale of how for­mer law­man John Reid, the Lone Ranger, came to fight in­jus­tice in the Old West.

“This is not his­tory told from your ra­dio sta­tion, your movie stu­dio or your net­work,” Verbin­ski said. “It’s told from Tonto and his mem­ory – and his mem­ory may be ques­tion­able.”

To make Tonto’s point of view au­then­tic, a Na­tive Amer­i­can con­sul­tant was used on the set, Verbin­ski said, adding that they also spoke with var­i­ous tribes to get cer­tain de­tails cor­rect.

No one em­braced the Tonto-cen­tric view­point more than Depp, who was told from an early age that he was part Na­tive Amer­i­can.

Since pro­duc­tion on the Dis­ney film has wrapped, the ac­tor has gone on to strengthen his ties to the com­mu­nity. Last year, Depp was named hon­orary mem­ber of the Co­manche Na­tion in Al­bu­querque, New Mex­ico, and he also served as grand mar­shal at the Co­manche Na­tion Fair in Ok­la­homa.

At Depp’s re­quest, pro­ceeds from the film’s $ 1 000- per- ticket (about R10 000) gala pre­miere last week at South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Dis­ney­land re­sort last week sup­ported the Amer­i­can In­dian Col­lege Fund.

Fans of the The Lone Ranger se­ries, which first ap­peared on ra­dio in 1933, can be as­sured that its core ele­ments re­main. Au­di­ences will see a man in a white hat and mask who be­lieves in jus­tice, a horse named Sil­ver and the trade­mark sil­ver bul­lets.

Its fa­mous theme, Rossini’s Wil­liam Tell over­ture, makes its way in to the film and Tonto

The Lone Ranger. con­tin­ues to af­fec­tion­ately re­fer to the Lone Ranger as “kemo sabe”.

The re­make boasts the same team, in­clud­ing Depp, Verbin­ski, pro­ducer Jerry Bruck-heimer and screen­writ­ers Ted El­liott and Terry Ros­sio, who brought Dis­ney the mega- block­buster Pi­rates of the Caribbean fran­chise. The four Pi­rates films have earned some $3.7 bil­lion in to­tal at the global box of­fice, ac­cord­ing to Box­of­fice­mojo. com. Al­though there are hopes The Lone Ranger team can re­peat past box of­fice suc­cess, there was noth­ing cheap about its costs, with the pro­duc­tion bud­geted at $225 mil­lion. An en­tire Old West town was built in which to shoot the film, along with a 60m-long train tun­nel, two 250-ton trains and kilo­me­tres of track.

Build­ing such am­bi­tious sets was nec­es­sary to achieve the right “feel” for the film’s ac­tion scenes, Verbin­ski said, adding he did not want to use cheaper com­puter-gen­er­ated im­agery or minia­tures for such se­quences. “The movie is an epic tale and I didn’t want it to feel overly lush and too pretty,” he said. “We all know what trains and horses look like, so I wanted to shoot trains and horses and do it the old- fash­ioned way.” – Reuters

PIC­TURES: AP

BACK IN THE SAD­DLE: Johnny Depp as Tonto and Ar­mie Ham­mer ride the range in

The Lone Ranger The Lone Ranger,

TO CEL­E­BRATE the re­lease of on Fri­day, we have three ham­pers to give away, courtesy of Walt Dis­ney Com­pany.

Each hamper con­tains a beaded purse, a beaded necklace, an iPhone 5 case, a can­vas back­pack and a T-shirt.

To en­ter, e-mail your full name, day­time tele­phone num­ber and your phys­i­cal ad­dress to win@taryn­fritzpr.co.za by next Fri­day, July 12, and an­swer this ques­tion: In the new film, which ac­tor plays the role of Tonto?

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