Depp told MTV.com that the film is “an opportunity for me to salute Native Americans.
Much like the unforgivable and unpredictable nature of the American Old West, the plight of Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski's big-screen adaptation of "The Lone Ranger" has been quite a bumpy ride.
The film got the green light earlier this year, with Depp settled into the role of Tonto and Armie Hammer selected to play the Ranger. Then in August, Disney put a halt on the production with claims that the budget was too big. Just this week, negotiations ended on a happy note, with the production back in full swing and a tentative start date scheduled for early next year.
MTV News caught up with Depp as he promoted "The Rum Diary," which opens October 28, to find out why "Ranger" is so important to him and why the budget became such a big issue for the studio bigwigs.
"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."
With regard to the back-and-forth budget talks with the studio, Depp admitted that he and director Verbinski knew they'd be in for some negotiating from the get-go, but they also planned to be patient.
"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."