The Lone Ranger

Consider this a bit of serious Hollywood housekeeping after a long, boring holiday weekend. In quick succession, a bevy of release dates (some new, some moved) have been fired out of the Hollywood cannon and straight into Reject HQ eyeballs. Ouch, Hollywood, seriously, those are our eyes. After the break, check out a full round-up of today’s many (too many, really) release date shuffles and announcements, including dates for sequels to both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: First Class, along with a new date for Thor 2 and a big move for The Lone Ranger, all rounded out by some fun assorted dates, like so much Fun Size candy of the calendar.

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After years with The White Stripes (R.I.P.), collaborative projects like The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, an ex-wife/bandmate that everyone thinks is his sister, and now a new solo album, Jack White‘s been a busy man. While he’s no stranger to film, he’s never composed a film score until now. According to Disney, they’ve hired the slightly mad musician to score The Lone Ranger, the forthcoming movie from Gore Verbinski. The director has worked most often with Hans Zimmer, but there’s no denying that White has incredible musical talent. As for movies, White worked with Alicia Keys on the Quantum of Solace song “Another Way to Die,” he was featured in It Might Get Loud, and he also appeared on “Rome” – the album from Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi which was inspired by Spaghetti Westerns. It’ll be an interesting experiment to see how his vision and talent transpose to the screen.  

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What is Movie News After Dark? Who even knows anymore… We begin this evening with something strange, a shot of Johnny Depp in full Tonto make-up on the set of The Lone Ranger, meeting with leaders of the Navajo nation. I wonder if they have any problem with the fact that Johnny Depp is exactly 0% Navajo. Nope: “We are honored the movie The Lone Ranger is being filmed here on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has beautiful landscape and we are glad it is being shared through filmmaking.” 

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If you enjoy things that get bigger when you click them, then this first picture from The Lone Ranger (via The Film Stage) is going to thrill you. As if to prove that this thing isn’t an elaborate fantasy, the production has provided this image taken during its first week of filming. It’s here to say, “See! We promise we’re actually making this thing! We’ve got costumes and make-up and domino masks and everything!” Armie Hammer‘s costume is a bit straightforward, but it’s clear that Johnny Depp‘s Tonto is effectively a Goth Captain Jack Sparrow. The crazier, the better. What do you think?

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While it’s not like no film has ever been shut down in the middle of production, I’m still going to get right on my high horse and tell it plainly – I didn’t believe that Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger was going to get made until a press release telling me that the film has started production hit my inbox this morning. So, hey, look, a movie! The release reports that production has commenced on location in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado” for the Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer-starring film, which means that the cast and crew is probably feeling pretty damn quartered right now. These are the jokes, people! The release does later clarify that the production “will film exteriors and studio work in New Mexico, followed by locations in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.” The film’s production troubles – namely of the budgetary variety – have been well-documented over the past few months, with the film being all but killed back in August, followed by Verbinski’s vow to trim the budget just days later, followed by its apparent resurrection in October, culminating in it being officially officially back on the trail in December. And that’s not even to mention all the casting blather surrounding to the film. But despite all those problems, this Lone Ranger is indeed riding again.

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William Fichtner is a badass. This has always been true, even as the character actor rocked his way through Baygasms and indie hits alike. With Dwight Yoakum out of Gore Verbinski‘s forthcoming Lone Ranger, there was a spot to fill, and the production has improved on its casting with the opportunity. Yoakum is interesting, sure, but no one touches Fichtner’s track record of stellar acting that makes everything he’s in just a bit better than it was before. So while Nathan questioned whether the acting singer’s departure was a bad omen in the link above, it looks like everything’s worked out for the even-better. Now the question is whether he can translate this into the kind of stardom the guy has deserved all along. It’s a massive movie with Johnny Depp pulling in crowds and a proven large-scale filmmaker, and even though he’s been in this position before, Fichtner has always been tucked away into a larger ensemble. Here, he’ll be even better equipped to steal scenes as well as boost (and get boosted) by actors like Tom Wilkinson (who will play a big boss villain). Fichtner’s role, Butch Cavendish, is the leader of a gang and the main villain facing off against Armie Hammer’s Ranger. That’s fertile ground.  At any rate, even if this doesn’t make him a household name, it’s still great to hear him cast in anything. Maybe there’s hope for this strange bird after all. [Deadline Destin]

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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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Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises

What is Movie News After Dark? … um, it’s about movies. And it takes place after the sun goes down. We begin this evening with another new image from The Dark Knight Rises, one of several that worked their way onto the web today thanks to Entertainment Weekly. Unlike all the previously interesting shots from the film, this one does not involve Bane. It’s Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) standing in front of the bat-suit. I love that bat-suit.

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that melts in your mouth, not in your hand. It also delivers a taste that doesn’t linger. Because we know you need to sleep soon, and we don’t want to disrupt such an important ritual. Lets be honest with ourselves for a moment. Even though we know that it will be a kindred spirit of Zack Snyder’s 300, we still can’t escape from the fact that Tarsem Singh’s The Immortals looks pretty badass. The evidence of this is all over the place, most notably in a new gallery of Immortals images over at Screen Rant. Tonight’s lead image features Theseus, the hero, vs. a Minotaur. I’ll watch that.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the roughest, toughest, meanest movie news column around. It also owns one of those silly shirts and smokes cigars. Of that, you can be sure. We begin our newsy journey tonight with a photo of three f*ckin’ guys you might have heard of on the set of The Expendables 2, proving once and for all that witty banter, big scarfs and an awful flowered shirt will be part of the highly anticipated testostisequel. All I can think is… someone needs to get to dat choppa!

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It may be considered old news since it happened a whole week ago, but Disney passing on The Lone Ranger is a remarkably good sign. It’s noteworthy for more than the average news of the day because it hints at a crack in the current foundation of studio thinking. It’s barely ever publicized, since a studio refusing to make a film is hardly newsworthy, but a project this high-profile, featuring talent like Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, that’s been reported on so thoroughly used to be a done deal. Now, that’s not the case. It’s not like this is the end of the story crisis or anything, but it’s the Hollywood equivalent of a crack addict putting down the pipe, and it should be celebrated.

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Despite the fact that the storytelling went off the rails and the budget’s bloated to bursting, Gore Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy ended up making Disney more money than most spoiled aristocrats will see in their lifetime. Given his rep as a franchise builder, I thought it was pretty shocking when Disney recently pulled the plug on his upcoming movie The Lone Ranger. Yeah, a $250m budget is ridiculously high for a movie about a couple of guys on horses, but with Verbinski teaming back up with his Pirates star Johnny Depp, and The Lone Ranger already being a property that people are familiar with, I figured this project would be bullet proof. Not so, as according to THR, a Lone Ranger with a $250m budget would have to hit upwards of $800 million to make a profit after all of the necessary marketing costs and shady backroom money trading were handled. Despite the fact that a movie needing to make more than three times its budget to turn a profit is ridiculous, and the surest sign that the studio system is broken, that’s just the way it is. And with John Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens not coming close to that number this summer, pumping so much money into a Western isn’t a risk Disney is looking to take, even in their Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland magic man Johnny Depp is on board.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that combines movie news remainders and interesting links, but at the moment it’s a column that can’t remember what day it is. Is it Thursday? How about Saturday? It’s had a rough week, and that’s putting it lightly. Anyway, lets do the news. After months of posturing, casting and even getting us all worked up over the prospect of Armie Hammer riding on ole’ Silver, Disney has put a bullet through The Lone Ranger. According to a Deadline report, the Mouse House didn’t like the $240 million dollar budget turned in by director Gore Verbinski, nor did they appreciate that 43% of it was to be used for Johnny Depp’s eyewear. With any luck, the project will get re-shopped, re-chopped and still happen. I did like the idea of that Winklevoss guy in the lead.

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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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It’s obviously Mustache Thursdays around here, and in the second piece of facial hair-based news, Variety is reporting that Tom Wilkinson is close to joining Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger. The veteran actor would be playing a “railroad tycoon” which most likely means he’ll be playing a bad guy, unless this story has the Ranger teaming up with a suave businessman to save the town or something. Casting Wilkinson is always a smart move because he can play just about anything and make it sing. Hammer is a strong leading man type, and Depp will most likely be as crazy as he wants to be as Tonto, but this reboot stands out as trading off of name recognition that has nothing to do comic books or plastic toys from the 1980s. It’s a name that appeals to a considerably older crowd, and it might be an effective move to bring in a younger crowd ready for wild west adventure alongside an older generation that remembers the character (or watching reruns of the character on television). It might be a clever move, and the casting is shaping up really well.

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Despite reports that The Lone Ranger is looking like it’s going to be a movie that will be featuring it’s title character no more prominently than the former sidekick Tonto, it will still be a huge release with all the power of the Disney marketing machine behind it; so I imagine a lot of actors have been going to bed every night hoping and praying that they would somehow get cast as the masked man. Well, those poor saps can put the rosaries away, because they never had a chance. Armie Hammer has it all locked up. What did you expect? He’s 6’5”, 220, and there’s only one of him. Hammer turned heads playing the Winklevoss twins in last year’s high profile film The Social Network. He managed to catch everybody’s attention not only by being statuesque and charming, but by also playing two roles so convincingly that a lot of people who saw the film thought he must have actually been two people. Just imagine how good he’s going to be when he only has to play one guy. Or don’t imagine. You won’t have to. According to Variety we’ll all find out soon enough, as production on The Lone Ranger is set to start moving forward once Depp finishes shooting on Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Hammer completes his work on The Brothers Grimm: Snow White.

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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?

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What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight it’s a movie news column stunned by its author’s ability to find all that is cool and interesting in the world of film. Seriously, this might be the best one of these lot that he’s put together in over 150 tries. It’s almost as if he’s ready to graduate to a “mediocre” rating as a news aggregator. Then he can begin acquiring spells and executing more advanced quests before he can join a proper guild and go on raids. Gore Verbinski may finally have found his Lone Ranger in the form of The Social Network star Armie Hammer. He is currently in talks to take the lead alongside Johnny Depp, who’s already been cast as Tonto. He’s got the look (and damn, the voice as well), but the challenge for Hammer will be the fact that there’s only one character to play in the film. Unless Verbinski carries over the “multiple Jack Sparrow” sequences from his Pirates of the Caribbean work.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is a nightly movie news column that ain’t afraid of sharks. Just don’t tell any sharks that it said that, because they just don’t need to know about it. It’s also a movie news column that continues to unapologetically report on all things Michael Bay and Doctor Who. If you can’t handle that, there’s other stuff in here, too. Shark Night 3D is a real thing. So real with its bikini-clad Sarah Paxton almost within the grasp of a big ass angry fish. So real with Snakes on a Plane director David R. Ellis at the controls. Oh, who are we kidding? This is going to be ridiculous, bloody and one-step above porn. If we’re lucky.

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