Reports of Tonto Depp’s death are greatly exaggerated.
Actor Johnny Depp, who has long been attached to a remake of The Lone Ranger in the role of Tonto, has made comments to MTV.com indicating that the film will indeed be made. The news is in direct contrast to previous reports that stated the project had been killed due to high costs.
The movie is to be directed by Gore Verbinski (Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean collaborator) and its budget was said rumored to have been bloated by expensive CGI animation for scenes involving werewolves. Depp confirmed that the snag had been a money issue. “We knew that the budget was going to be huge initially,” he told MTV.com, “and we also knew that it was going to be shut down for a while, and it was kind of like we patiently wait—we shave a little bit here, we do a little bit there, [and] they fix it.”
Depp did not comment on the content of the film apart from reiterating his thoughts on Tonto’s role. “I like the idea of having the opportunity to make fun of the idea of the Indian as a sidekick, which has always been [the case] throughout the history of Hollywood,” he said. “The Native American has always been a second-class, third-class, fourth-class citizen, and I don’t see Tonto that way at all.”
Depp’s determination to play a Tonto he feels will be more compelling has met with, at best, mixed results in Indian country, as seen in this Marty Two Bulls cartoon from earlier this year.