Johnny Depp is making a “Lone Ranger” movie because of course he is, that’s how Johnny Depp rolls, he doesn’t care about the movie star game or doing what people expect of him, and if people expect him to put his considerable talents to use tackling challenging roles in interesting films, well he simply must go in the exact opposite direction and make grim, unmerciful shlock. Oh, the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” wasn’t enough for you? That “Dark Shadows” remake didn’t inspire you? Then he’ll find an even older show with even less resonance for today’s audiences, and he’ll star in an even more expensive adaptation of that show, and for some reason it will involve werewolves.
The “Lone Ranger” movie was temporarily shuttered by Disney while they tried to lower the budget from $250 million dollars to $215 million dollars; this was accomplished when Depp, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer all cut their upfront fees and agreed to trim some action sequences. These are the sacrifices you make when you just have to bring the story of “The Lone Ranger” to modern audiences. But they did it! They made the difficult decisions and we’re still going to get a “Lone Ranger” movie that absolutely no one wants, and it’s going to cost $215 million dollars, a comical amount of money for this movie, but at least it won’t cost $250 million.
And now please sit down — are you sitting down? Okay, now that you’re sitting down — so that I may deliver utterly shocking news to you: The movie might be back up to (or even north of) that original $250 million figure. Oh, and it’s “days or possibly weeks” behind schedule, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the official trade magazine of costly disasters.
Verbinski is again being asked to make cuts after “he already made such sacrifices as losing a major train sequence in the first round of trims.” He lost a MAJOR TRAIN SEQUENCE? Nobody told me that. Where are the telethons for Gore Verbinski’s major train sequence? Where’s the Kickstarter project raising money to restore his major train sequence? Today, we are all “The Lone Ranger’s” excised major train sequence, etc.
Also, because this movie is a $250 million documentary about one director’s obsession with trains, we get this gem of a line:
Period trains are a huge element in the movie, say sources, and Verbinski opted for the production to construct its own locomotives from scratch rather than employ existing railroad vehicles.
That’s just an utterly defensible explanation for this movie’s budget overages. Alan Horn, the new Disney chief who officially started work this week, can easily explain this one away. Look, when you’re making a movie based on a TV show that went off the air 53 years before the movie version is scheduled to come out, sometimes you just have to spend more than $250 million dollars making a movie about period trains and, also, Johnny Depp wearing wacky costumes and using up his remaining public goodwill. It’s like William Goldman always said: You can’t make an omelet without breaking $250 million dollars worth of period trains.