Ryan Gosling, of Blue Valentine and The Notebook fame, is reportedly in negotiations to take the role of the Lone Ranger in the upcoming adaptation by Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp.
Verbinski and Depp have both already made it clear that Depp’s Tonto, not the Lone Ranger, will be the lead role, with Verbinski describing his plans as “‘Don Quixote’ from Sancho Panza’s point of view.” Depp, who is part Cherokee, says he sees the role as a way to ‘salute’ all the Native Americans who have been poorly portrayed in cinema.
The Lone Ranger first found life as a radio serial, running from 1933 to 1954, before going on to appear in film serials, on television, and in comics and novels. The notoriously clean-cut franchise features the Lone Ranger, his ever-present Apache companion Tonto, and his horse Silver. The Lone Ranger is a masked vigilante, who battles evil but never ethnic minorities, and always shoots to disarm.
The film has been described as taking a comedic take on the franchise, possibly invoking the slapstick action-adventure feel of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Depp has flirted with the Western before, with 2003’s Robert Rodriguez film Once Upon A Time in Mexico, and of course this year’s Rango.
At this stage, it’s hard to picture what sort of shape the finished project will take. The sometimes excessively self-aware tone of Depp projects is not something I relish the idea of seeing on-screen, nor can I claim to have enjoyed any Verbinski-Depp collaboration. I am willing to be surprised by a quality Lone Ranger, but I would be surprised.
Lone Ranger is planned for a 2014 release.
UPDATE – 08 June 2011: Ryan Gosling is now confirmed not to be available for Lone Ranger, which has been moved forward for a North American release on 21 December, 2012.