Armie Hammer Joins Johnny Depp In Disney's <i>The Lone Ranger</i>

Armie Hammer, best known for his role as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, will star opposite Johnny Depp's Tonto in Disney's adaptation of The Lone Ranger, Variety reports.

Depp has been attached since 2008 to the movie, which reunites the actor with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The casting of Hammer, who was first mentioned as a frontrunner for the role late last month, puts the long-brewing project on track for a fall start -- once Depp wraps up Tim Burton's Dark Shadows adaptation.

Based on the long-running radio serial turned television series about a masked Texas Ranger who fights injustice with his Native American companion, the current Lone Ranger movie languished for five years in development hell until 2007, when Bruckheimer set up the project at Disney. While the property experienced great success on television in the 1940s and '50s, attempts to revive The Lone Ranger have failed miserably: The 1981 movie The Legend of the Lone Ranger opened to almost universally negative reviews and failed to recoup production costs, while the 2003 backdoor pilot starring Chad Michael Murray wasn't picked up by the WB.

Depp suggested just last week that the movie's script, by Justin Haythe (The Clearing, Revolutionary Road), will alter the relationship between the masked Texas Ranger and his Native American sidekick.

“I remember watching [the TV show] as a kid, with Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore, and going: ‘Why is the fucking Lone Ranger telling Tonto what to do?’" he told Entertainment Weekly. "I liked Tonto, even at that tender age, and knew Tonto was getting the unpleasant end of the stick here. That’s stuck with me. [...] When the idea came up [for the movie], I started thinking about Tonto and what could be done in my own small way try to — ‘eliminate’ isn’t possible — but reinvent the relationship, to attempt to take some of the ugliness thrown on the Native Americans, not only in The Lone Ranger, but the way Indians were treated throughout history of cinema, and turn it on its head.”

The 24-year-old Hammer, who was recently cast opposite Lily Collins and Julia Roberts in the Tarsem Singh-directed The Brothers Grimm: Snow White, next stars alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar.

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