I’ve learned two new things about Johnny Depp after reading some comments that he gave Inside Movies. One is that he is very passionate about 50s era TV serials, and the other is that he is probably the most Native American man on the planet. What we knew already is that Depp is set to play Tonto in a big screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger with the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy’s Gore Verbinski set to handle the directing. What’s new news is that Depp thinks the character of The Lone Ranger is kind of a dick, and he doesn’t plan on letting him push his version of Tonto around. Depp says, “I remember watching it as a kid, with Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore, and going, ‘Why is the f—ing Lone Ranger telling Tonto what to do?’” Dang Johnny, you kiss your mistress with that mouth? I guess now that I’m thinking about it, Tonto was kind of The Lone Ranger’s bitch, but is it really so serious that you have to curse about it?
Depp thinks so. He goes on to explain, “I liked Tonto, even at that tender age, and knew Tonto was getting the unpleasant end of the stick here. That’s stuck with me. And when the idea came up [for the movie], I started thinking about Tonto and what could be done in my own small way to try to … reinvent the relationship, to attempt to take some of the ugliness thrown on the Native Americans … and turn it on its head.” So it sounds like this new version of The Lone Ranger is going to be putting the white guy and Tonto on much more equal footing than the TV show from the 50s did. This is probably a positive for the story that will end up making their dynamic more interesting this time around, but I’m sure there will be plenty of people out there who get upset about the change. People don’t like change.
Despite the possible fanboy blowback, Depp feels a deep calling to defend his Native American brethren, and I doubt he could be persuaded to change his mind on the topic. Oh, you didn’t know that Johnny Depp was Native American, you say? Well it turns out that his great-grandma, “ … was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian.” So this guy feels the pain of the Native American deep in his DNA. And it turns out the persecution of Native Americans hasn’t just been limited to their portrayal on cowboy shows either. They’ve got some real life raw deals from the white man going way back. Something about land stealing and raping and pillaging… I’ll let Depp explain; “If you find out you’ve got Native American blood, which a lot of people do … you have to think, somewhere along the line, I’m the product of some horrific rape. You just have that little sliver in your chemical makeup.” Things are starting to make a lot of sense. I’ve often found myself feeling a little rapey and never knew why. It’s because my grandpa Carl was part Native American. What’s the moral of this story? I think it’s just that Johnny Depp always has a lot of stuff going on in his head. God love him.