‘The Lone Ranger’ Not Dead After All?

Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp's upcoming blockbuster is only mostly dead...

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

The Lone Ranger hasn't had the happiest trail to a theater near you thus far. Disney's version of the classic western hero was announced way back in 2008, with Johnny Depp already attached to co-star as Tonto, but the project languished in development until this past year, when production finally heated up. Up-and-comer Armie Hammer (The Social Network) was attached to play the title role, Luther's Ruth Wilson was brought on to play the female lead and Dwight Yoakam was set to play the villain… and then Disney shut the whole thing down because it was going to cost $275 million dollars. We can't really blame them for that.

It seemed like the whole enterprise was dead, especially after the most recent attempt at a summer blockbuster western, Cowboys and Aliens, failed to make an impression on audiences. (We suspect that's because the film wasn't very good, as opposed to some kind of audience prejudice against the genre.) Now Deadline reports that hope is not lost. Disney wanted the budget brought down to $200 million, which is perfectly respectable for a film about horses and ramshackle towns (as opposed to pirates ships, island paradises and monsters), and director Gore Verbinski is vying to meet them more than halfway at $215 million. So there's a chance. Meanwhile, the report also indicates that Johnny Depp probably won't make the film without his Pirates of the Caribbean director in tow, so assuming Disney actually wants to make this movie at all they have a lot of incentive to put a deal in motion.

It's really going to be disappointing if they go to all this trouble and the movie ends up sucking, won't it?

CraveOnline will be back with more Lone Ranger news after we find a nice sunset to walk into.