Johnny Depp as Tonto

I am not going to see the Lone Ranger in the theater.  The previews did not make it look good.  The reviews confirmed what I already thought.  The Fresh Air review makes me think it might be so bad it is worth seeing.  To be honest, I do not want to reward it with my box office dollars.  Maybe I will watch it on HBOGo in the future. 

I had been thinking about a Lone Ranger movie for a long time.  There seemed to be a number of challenges of fitting the Lone Ranger into a modern context.  He does not fit our modern idea of heroism.  The Lone Ranger is very clean cut and it is hard to have a clean cut hero right now, (See Man of Steel)

I was wondering how you would handle the character of Tonto.  There seemed to be three things you could do with his character, cast an unknown Native American actor as a co-star, reduce the roll to not being one of the stars of the movie, and cast a non Native American actor.

When I heard Johnny Depp was going to be in the Lone Ranger, I was excited until I heard he was going to be Tonto.  I saw the preview and could see everything I disliked about Hollywood.  I knew that no small number of people would be upset with him playing Tonto.  

When I see the preview I see the simple problem.  This movie had a really big budget.  There is no Native American actor who is a big enough box office draw to fund this movie.  Johnny Depp has started in movies that have made over 3 billion dollars at the box office in the US and 7 billion world wide.  Without someone on the level of Johnny Depp the movie would not have been made.

In the long run maybe the movie should not have been made.  It is not doing well this weekend.  I think there is a lesson here.  Disney would not have this baggage to carry around if they did not title the movie The Lone Ranger.  They could have avoided all of this if they just made a new movie.  I think this is something movie marketers are missing. 

Other Links:
The Onion
Time Magazine


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