Johnny Depp is set to play Tonto in The Lone Ranger for Disney and Gore Verbinski. Depp is an actor that immerses himself in every character he takes on, but has larger plans for the role of Tonto. His plan is to take the the sidekick character and turn him into leading man in the new version of the film. This is personal for him, as Depp is reportedly part Native American.
Here is some background about Jay Silverheels who played Tonto on the TV show:
Silverheels was a Mohawk, and champion athlete in boxing, lacrosse, and wrestling. He was an actor with great dignity, and found a way to overcome the limitations of the role. Later in his life Jay devoted his life to teaching young Native American actors so that they could continue to progress the view of Hollywood toward a more authentic portrayal.
Here is what Depp had to say in a recent interview:
"I like the character. I think I have interesting plans for the character, and I think the film itself could be entertaining and very funny," he said. "But also 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, the Native American has always been a second-class, third-class, fourth-class citizen, and I don't see Tonto that way at all. So it's an opportunity for me to salute Native Americans."
"We knew that the budget was going to be huge initially, 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."
Watch the video below of the interview:
I am interested to see how this film turns out, but I do not believe it needs $215 million for a budget. What are your thoughts?