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Disney drops Johnny Depp's The Lone Ranger

Johnny Depp in Public Enemies

Story by Jack Foley

DISNEY has reportedly dropped Johnny Depp’s ambitious big screen version of The Lone Ranger months away from the production’s start.

According to a surprise report on The Hollywood Reporter, the distributor opted to ‘kill’ the project following clashes with producer Jerry Bruckheimer over the budget.

No source from Disney is quoted and there’s no official statement to support the story.

But The Lone Ranger had been viewed by all parties as a potential new franchise that would further Depp’s relationship with Disney and build on the phenomenal success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Shooting was due to have commenced in the autumn with a view to having the film ready for a December 2012 release.

Depp was to have played The Lone Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto, in what would have been a far more significant role. Armie Hammer was cast as the Lone Ranger, while Gore Verbinski, director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, was set to helm.

In light of there being no official statement or explanation, rumours abound as to why Disney has taken its shock decision.

Some suggest Bruckheimer and Verbinski were seeking a greater budget than Disney were prepared to offer and refused to compromise their vision for the film, while the box office performance of Cowboys & Aliens, which is below expectation, may have led to certain cold feet among executives over the viability of the Western.

A bigger question remains how the decision will affect Disney’s relationship with both Bruckheimer and Depp, who they are counting on to further the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as quickly as possible in the wake of the success of On Stranger Tides.

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