There’s a big story developing in Hollyweird that has secretly affected us genre fans. Maybe you heard about Disney’s epic The Lone Ranger, which was to be directed by the great Gore Verbinski (The Ring, Pirates of the Caribbean), and star acting sensation Johnny Depp. Deadline broke the news August 12 that Disney had shut down production after the ballooning budget reached nearly $250 million. While they’ve since updated the story that it could be resurrected in the coming week, word on the street is that it’s DEAD.
The importance to genre fans is that, apparently, The Lone Ranger was to be a $250 million dollar werewolf movie. Yes, you read that correctly. An updated article over at Hollywood-Elsewhere writes that the reason Ranger‘s budget was so astronomically high that Disney execs decided to shut it down was because it’s an effects-heavy CG thing due to being a kind of an Indian-spirituality werewolf movie — a.k.a., The Lone Ranger Meets the Wolfman. Further adding that a 3.29.09 draft of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio’s script makes it clear it was going to be at least partly about some kind of Native American wolfbeast tearing victims apart and leaving a bloody mess.
Word had it that it was going to be a Tonto show – Tonto as the top dog and more dominant than the Lone Ranger. Tonto and the Indian spirits like Obi Wan Kenobi and the force. The driving engine was going to be Native American occult aspects worked in with werewolves and special effects. But flavored with doses of Native American spirituality in a serious way.
More speculation is that Disney got cold feet after Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens performed poorly, which is interestingly timed with the death of Ron Howard’s epic The Dark Tower adaptation. FEAR is nothing new in Hollywood…
The Lone Ranger was scheduled to be released Dec. 21, 2012, smack up against The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opens Dec. 14, and the Brad Pitt-starrer World War Z, which was just slated for Dec. 21.
Look, The Lone Ranger could have been a big screen adaptation of those cheesy all-over print t-shirts!