Although it stars Johnny Depp, who has always brought the audiences for his films with the studio, Disney nearly cancelled the project over budgetary concerns back in August. Director Gore Verbinski jumped in and managed to slash a few things out of the script in order to get the budget down to the neighborhood of $210 million, a figure that the studio was more comfortable with. Along the way, though, actor Dwight Yoakum had to drop out of the project siting a scheduling conflict.
Now it just remains to be seen if all the drama will be worth it, but we’ll have to wait until May 31, 2013 to find out.
Here is Disney’s press release announcing the beginning of production –
BURBANK, Calif. (February 27, 2012) — Production has commenced on location in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado on Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ epic adventure “The Lone Ranger.” The film reunites the filmmaking team of the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” blockbusters—producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski—with Johnny Depp, who created Captain Jack Sparrow in his iconic, Academy Award®-nominated performance and contributed the voice of the title character of Verbinski’s Academy Award-winning “Rango.”
Depp plays spirit warrior Tonto in “The Lone Ranger,” with Armie Hammer (“The Social Network,” “J. Edgar”) starring in the title role. Depp and Hammer are joined by a prestigious international cast which includes Tom Wilkinson, two-time Academy Award nominee (“Michael Clayton,” “In the Bedroom”) and Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner (“John Adams”); William Fichtner (Jerry Bruckheimer’s productions of “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down”); Emmy Award-winner Barry Pepper (TV’s “The Kennedys,” “True Grit,” “Saving Private Ryan”); James Badge Dale (“The Grey,” TV’s “The Pacific” and “Rubicon”); Ruth Wilson (television’s “Jane Eyre” and “Luther”); and two-time Academy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe nominee Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech,” “Alice in Wonderland”). The film is slated to open in the US on May 31, 2013.
“The Lone Ranger” is a thrilling adventure infused with action and humor, in which the famed masked hero is brought tolife through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.
“The Lone Ranger” is written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Eric Aronson and Justin Haythe. The executive producers are Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Eric Ellenbogen and Eric McLeod.
Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski are joined by a remarkable team of behind-the-scenes artists, including director of photography Bojan Bazelli (Verbinski’s “The Ring,” “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”); visual consultant Mark “Crash” McCreery (production designer of Verbinski’s “Rango”); costume designer Penny Rose (“Pirates of the Caribbean” films); film editor James Haygood (“Panic Room,” “Fight Club”); visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander (“Rango,” three “Harry Potter” films); Academy Award®-winning special effects supervisor John Frazier, a 10-time nominee whose previous collaborations with Jerry Bruckheimer have included “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and, with Verbinski as well, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”; and stunt coordinator Thomas Robinson Harper (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”).
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Gore Verbinski has enjoyed tremendous box office success as the innovative director of both character-driven franchises and thoughtful genre-bending fare. Most recently, Verbinski released his first animated film, the smash hit “Rango,” starring Johnny Depp. Grossing over $240 million worldwide, the film won the Academy Award for Best Animated FeatureFilm, as well as BAFTA and Annie awards, and received Golden Globe® and PGAnominations. Verbinski previously helmed the hit franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean,” directing the first three films starring Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley. The films have collectively grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide since release. He made his directorial debut with “Mouse Hunt,” starring Nathan Lane, followed by the road movie “The Mexican,” starring Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini. He also directed the smash horror film “The Ring,” starring Naomi Watts.
Verbinski is also a successful award-winning commercial director, having been honored with four Clio Awards and a Cannes Silver Lion Award for his work on an assortment of memorable advertising spots. In addition, he directed music videos for bands including Bad Religion and Crystal Method.
First in partnership with Don Simpson, and then as the chief of Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Bruckheimer has produced an unprecedented string of worldwide smashes, impacting not only the industry, but mass culture as well. Bruckheimer’s films include (producing with Don Simpson) “Top Gun,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Beverly Hills Cop 2,” “American Gigolo,” “Flashdance,” “Bad Boys,” “Dangerous Minds,” “Crimson Tide,” “The Rock,” and (producing solo) “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the State,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Remember the Titans,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Bad Boys II,” “Veronica Guerin,” “King Arthur,” “National Treasure,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and the 2011 blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”
On television, Bruckheimer had an unprecedented 10 television series airing in the 2005-6 season, a record in the medium for an individual producer. JBTV’s series include “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” and its spinoffs “C.S.I.: Miami,” “C.S.I.: NY” and “Without a Trace,” “Cold Case” and the eight-time Emmy® Award-winner “The Amazing Race.”
Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Television have been honored with 41 Academy Award® nominations, six wins, eight GRAMMY® Award nominations, five wins, 23 Golden Globe® nominations, four wins, 105 Emmy® Award nominations, 21 wins, 30 People’s Choice nominations, 15 wins, numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture of the Decade for “Beverly Hills Cop.”
“The Lone Ranger” will film exteriors and studio work in New Mexico, followed by locations in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.