April 25 2012

Johnny Depp Explains His Look for Tonto in The Lone Ranger

If there is one thing you can say about Johnny Depp, it is that he certainly does his research.

When the first image for The Lone Ranger movie came out, about all anyone could comment on was how odd Johnny Depp looked as Tonto.

Long Ranger

Well, some time has passed, and now Depp has explained he took his inspiration from this painting.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, he explained his thought process:

I’d actually seen a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler, and looked at the face of this warrior and thought: That’s it. The stripes down the face and across the eyes … it seemed to me like you could almost see the separate sections of the individual, if you know what I mean.

No, I’m not sure we totally know what you mean, Mr. Depp, but it does make some sense. Luckily he added more.

There’s this very wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain, these slivers of the individual. That makeup inspired me.

As for the crow, I now see what he was going for and it makes a ton of sense.

It just so happened Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top,” Depp said, which led him to another eureka moment. “I thought: Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.

And speaking on why he chose to play Tonto, Depp had this to say.

The whole reason I wanted to play Tonto is to try to [mess] around with the stereotype of the American Indian that has been laid out through history, or the history of cinema at the very least — especially Tonto as the sidekick, The Lone Ranger’s assistant. As you’ll see, it’s most definitely not that.

You would think after as many Johnny Depp movies as I’ve watched over the years I would have known there was a reason for every choice he made. So, color me impressed.

The Lone Ranger is being directed by Gore Verbinski (The Pirates of the Carribbean), produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and will hit theaters on May 31, 2013.

[via Entertainment Weekly]

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