Dwight Yoakam

There’s some more bad news for director Gore Verbinski’s seemingly cursed venture The Lone Ranger. This film, that Verbinski is making with Disney, has been in development for quite a while now, and it’s sure seen its share of ups and downs. Though it has a proven successful actor/director duo in Johnny Depp and Mr. Verbinski, and it’s dealing with the sort of  already-established source material that Hollywood feels most comfortable with, this film was also, at one point, coming in with a $250m budget. Five years ago, when the world was in considerably better shape, that might not have been a problem, but in today’s dicey climate, Disney decided that the financial risk was too great, and they ended up shelving the thing. That wasn’t the end of the road, however. Verbinski vowed to do whatever it takes, including making big budget cuts, to get some form of this film onto the big screen. It seemed like a long shot, but eventually it worked, and the once-$250m  movie got the go-ahead to move forward with a new, slightly tweaked script and a new, slightly trimmed budget of more around the $215m mark. When the new go-ahead was announced, it was said that the whole of the cast was still going to be in place, despite the extreme shift in scheduling, and that the film was going to begin shooting in February (which is now). At the time I had my doubts. Could a movie with names like Johnny Depp, […]

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It’s been a long, winding road to get Disney’s new version of The Lone Ranger to the big screen. We went through the whole casting process, we went through a phase where everybody was waiting to see if Gore Verbinski would come on to direct, we were told that Disney had canned the movie due to its budget being out of control, and then there was a whole series of will-they-won’t-they back and forths where Verbinski kept trying to cut money from the budget to save the film and nobody knew whether or not each cut would be enough to do the job. But, finally, after what feels like years of reporting on this movie already, Deadline Tioga is saying that it’s actually set to go in front of cameras in February. The amazing thing is, despite all of the delays and uncertainty, The Lone Ranger still has the original cast it put together in place. Armie Hammer is still going to be the title character, Johnny Depp is still going to be Tonto, and they’ve even now got Tom Wilkinson signed, sealed, and delivered to play the film’s villain, Latham Cole, and Ruth Wilson locked in to play the female lead, Rebecca Reid. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there’s also a strong supporting cast featuring names like Barry Pepper and Dwight Yoakam that are still on board.

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Dirty Girl is a candy-coated collection of ’80s hairstyles, pop tunes and other sparkly flourishes. Despite the best efforts of Juno Temple, who perfects her standard character — the sullen oversexed young woman — it’s a forced, facile effort. The film takes a premise with promise, in which the titular “dirty girl” (Temple) searches for her long-lost father, and flushes it away in a haze of standard road-trip silliness. It’d be hard to conceive of a movie more painstakingly comprised of dramatic filler than this one, in which nothing of consequence happens until the climax. Danielle and her shy study buddy Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) take off from Oklahoma for California, in the hope of finding the absentee paterfamilias who knows not of her existence. Both misfits are escaping unfortunate home situations: Danielle’s mom Sue-Anne (Milla Jovovich), a former “dirty girl” herself, wants to settle down with the domineering Mormon Ray (William H. Macy). Clarke has it worse. His father Joseph (Dwight Yoakam) abuses him, sends him to therapy and threatens military school if his son can’t repress his homosexuality.

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For a while, the only thing we really knew about Disney’s upcoming The Lone Ranger is that Johnny Depp would be starring, curiously enough, as Tonto. Then, as the project began to take shape, we learned that he would be re-teaming with his Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango director Gore Verbinski, who came on to helm things. Then the third big piece of the puzzle came into place when The Social Network’s Übermensch Armie Hammer signed on to play The Lone Ranger himself. And now that the big names are in place, it has come time to begin filling out the rest of the cast.

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Billy Bob Thornton hasn’t directed a non-documentary since 2001’s Daddy and Them. That’s kind of a shame, because it seems like the guy could be pretty good at it. Dude made Sling Blade after all. I take it as good news then, that Thornton has a cast in place and funding secured for his next feature Jayne Mansfield’s Car. Not much is known about the film yet, but Thornton co-wrote the script with his writing partner Tom Epperson, and it’s said to be about two families from different parts of the world experiencing a culture clash in 1969. Young actor John Patrick Amedori is set to star in the film and names like Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, Ray Stevenson, John Hurt, Dwight Yoakam, and Dennis Quaid are locked in to round out the cast. That’s a ridiculously impressive list of actors, but where are all the ladies? Perhaps that’s a mystery for another day.

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