Actor Armie Hammer, who plays the Lone Ranger in the upcoming Disney movie of the same name, was recently promoting the film in Australia. When asked about the controversy surrounding the casting of non-Native Johnny Depp to play the American Indian character of Tonto, Hammer gave this curious reply:
"This is nothing new. I remember huge outrage when Johnny wanted to play Edward Scissorhands. Everyone was like 'dude, you don't have scissors on your hands! What are you doing? Let someone who has scissors on their hands play the part!' But he did it and did a great job, just like he's going to do a great job on this one."
When Hammer said that Native Americans felt Depp-as-Tonto is "awesome," it was a sincere statement that caused many knowing chuckles in Indian country. This time, Hammer has tried to dismiss the controversy with a joke that isn't terribly funny. (And besides, Armie Hammer was four years old when Edward Scissorhands was in theaters.)
To read the full article and watch a video (although the juicy part is omitted), visit the Sydney Morning Herald's story "Tonto a good thing with latest Lone Ranger."