Hi-ho Sil­ver! The Lone Ranger is here

Play­ing an Amer­i­can hero along­side Johnny Depp was sec­ond na­ture to Ar­mie Ham­mer

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODWATCHING -

WHEN pro­ducer Jerry Bruck­heimer set out to cast the part of John Reid in the Western ad­ven­ture The Lone Ranger, out now in South Africa, he knew that he would recog­nise the per­fect ac­tor to play the part the mo­ment he saw him.

“I saw Ar­mie Ham­mer in The So­cial Net­work and I said, ‘He’s just per­fect for the Lone Ranger’,” he says. “He’s tall, he’s hand­some, and there’s a kind of twin­kle in his eye. I thought he’d be the most in­ter­est­ing cast­ing that we could do for this part, and he’s a won­der­ful ac­tor.”

Di­rec­tor Gore Verbin­ski agreed, and Ham­mer signed on to play the leg­endary masked law­man along­side Johnny Depp as his dark-hu­moured side­kick Tonto.

Ham­mer says play­ing the Lone Ranger along­side Depp turned out to be fun: “Ev­ery­body in­volved is at the top of their game, and it’s fan­tas­tic to be a part of some­thing like that.”

Ex­plain­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween his char­ac­ter and Tonto, Ham­mer says: “The re­la­tion­ship de­vel­ops out of ne­ces­sity, where you have the Lone Ranger who’s com­pletely in­ca­pac­i­tated and nursed back to health by Tonto. But then it’s like an odd cou­ple team. It’s like they couldn’t be more po­lar op­po­sites.

“Tonto is a loner. He’s got no vil­lage. He’s got no fam­ily. He’s a com­plete out­cast. The Lone Ranger just lost his brother and doesn’t know who’s on his side or who’s against him – so it’s com­pli­cated.”

De­vel­op­ing that re­la­tion­ship on screen with Depp took some time, but be­came a lot of fun.

“Once we had a rhythm, we started to re­ally have fun with th­ese two char­ac­ters,” says Ham­mer.

“We knew how to push each other’s but­tons. It’s a good re­la­tion­ship.”

What did you think when you first read the script?

I thought, “Man, this is ac­tu­ally re­ally funny. This is a re­ally a good script.” Af­ter read­ing the script, I went back and did my due dili­gence but be­fore that, my only ex­pe­ri­ence with the Lone Ranger con­sisted of watch­ing TV with my dad and all of a sud­den he’d be like, “Hi-ho, Sil­ver!” I do a lot of re­search be­fore any pro­ject. I lis­tened to some old ra­dio se­ri­als and watched por­tions of the Clay­ton Moore The Lone Ranger TV show.

Talk a lit­tle bit about the Cow­boy Boot Camp that you had to at­tend.

Cow­boy Boot Camp was some­thing we did in the be­gin­ning where they se­questered all the ac­tors with a bunch of cow­boys for three weeks. We rode horses all day, prac­tised putting on a sad­dle, tak­ing it off, work­ing with las­sos, learn­ing dif­fer­ent ways to throw the rope. It was an im­mer­sion pro­ject where we just went into it and just did it.

Ba­si­cally it was all of the ac­tors run­ning around act­ing like six-year-old boys and hav­ing a great time.

Did you like westerns be­fore this?

I did. I think that westerns are one of the pure ex­am­ples of Amer­i­can sto­ry­telling. There are no westerns any­where else but Amer­ica. They are our own genre. How is The Lone Ranger unique? The scale of this is in­cred­i­ble. You’ve got the trans-con­ti­nen­tal rail­road. You’ve got the con­cept of the Na­tive Amer­i­cans’ con­flict with the govern­ment. You’ve got the Texas Rangers. It’s ac­cu­rate his­tor­i­cally but told in such a fun, fresh way.

Talk about the Lone Ranger and Tonto’s re­la­tion­ship and how it de­vel­ops in this movie.

They couldn’t be more po­lar op­po­sites. You have the Lone Ranger, who’s about jus­tice and wants th­ese guys brought to jus­tice specif­i­cally in a court of law, and then you have Tonto, who is like: “We kill them.” They come from dif­fer­ent pages but they’re on the same mis­sion. So they’re stuck with each other. And they’re also all they have.

In the be­gin­ning of the movie, we shot

The Lone Ranger. all the Ranger stuff, so it wasn’t like Johnny and I were in ev­ery scene.

But then there were two or three weeks where we had a scene to­gether ev­ery sin­gle day. And that’s where we started to re­ally catch our stride.

Once we had a rhythm, we started to re­ally have fun with th­ese two char­ac­ters and how they bounce off each other. I got to know the Tonto char­ac­ter bet­ter and I guess Johnny got to know the Lone Ranger char­ac­ter bet­ter, too, be­cause we both knew how to push each other’s but­tons. It’s a good re­la­tion­ship.

What did you think the first time you put on the mask?

The first time I put on the mask was in a tai­lor’s back of­fice in Bur­bank. It was just for a fit­ting, so it didn’t feel right.

Later on, they brought in the proper mask. The real one just fit so per­fectly. I re­mem­ber putting it on and think­ing, “Damn, this is badass. This is ac­tu­ally go­ing to be cool.” – Sup­plied

HEROES: Johnny Depp plays Tonto while Ar­mie Ham­mer dons the mask in

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