Jewish World Review July 18, 2013/ 11 Menachem-Av, 5773
The Lone Ranger and Tonto vent
By Barry Koltnow
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?
I can't recall where I was when I heard it, but I do remember what I thought when I heard that Johnny Depp was going to play Tonto in a new movie about the Lone Ranger.
I don't think I'm rewriting history here when I tell you that I thought it was the silliest casting in Hollywood history. It was wrong on so many levels.
Of course, somebody thought it was inspired casting, just like somebody thought that Tom Cruise was a perfect Jack Reacher.
If "The Lone Ranger" had been a runaway hit, and not a Western of mass destruction, Disney, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and Depp would be considered geniuses.
But it wasn't, and they're not.
Disney, which thought that "The Lone Ranger" was a sure thing because it was made by the same people who set sail on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, is going to take a nine-figure loss on "The Lone Ranger."
A nine-figure loss is not a laughing matter. Nobody at Disney is laughing. Nobody who paid to see "The Lone Ranger" is laughing.
As tempting as it is to kick a studio when it's down, I'm not that type of columnist. Therefore, I'll let someone else kick them when they're down.
In this case, I found some very impressive kickers. That's right; I was fortunate to track down the real Lone Ranger and Tonto, and they graciously agreed to stop chasing bad guys long enough to sit down with the Orange County Register to discuss the new movie.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: What did you think when you heard that Johnny Depp was going to play Tonto?
LONE RANGER: I was just hoping that he wasn't going to wear that awful wig that he wore in the movie "Blow."
OCR: Really, that was your first thought?
TONTO: I didn't think it was funny. What happened to diversity in Hollywood? It was Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" all over again.
OCR: Other than the fact that Depp is not Native American, what did you think of his performance?
TONTO: He was too funny. I was never that funny. I had a good sense of humor, but we were fighting evil-doers. I don't remember a lot of clowning around in the Old West. Don't believe everything you saw in "Blazing Saddles." Mel Brooks made up a lot of that stuff.
LONE RANGER: I thought Johnny was too short. Tonto is a tall, proud Native American. Johnny is a short, skinny actor with a fake French accent. He looked like a Tonto bobblehead doll.
OCR: Do you give the filmmakers credit for making Tonto more of an equal partner and less of a sidekick?
LONE RANGER: What's wrong with being a sidekick? Where would Johnny Carson have been without Ed McMahon? Where would Han Solo be without Chewbacca? Where would Shrek be without Donkey?
TONTO: Now you're getting silly. Those are animated characters.
LONE RANGER: Do you hate being a sidekick that much?
TONTO: It was a little insulting.
LONE RANGER: Excuse me. I suppose you want to wear a mask, too?
TONTO: Why? Nobody wants to kill me. Everybody likes me.
OCR: What did you think of Armie Hammer playing you?
LONE RANGER: Tall, good-looking, all-American smile. What's not to like?
OCR: So you were happy with his portrayal of you?
LONE RANGER: I didn't say that. He was kind of a dweeb. I'm the Lone Ranger, and he made me look like one of those lame sitcom fathers from the 1950s. Tonto was too smart in the movie.
TONTO: Hey, I resent that. I'm pretty smart.
LONE RANGER: Of course you are, but I'm not as dumb as they made me look. I think they went overboard on being politically correct.
OCR: What did you think of the criminal Butch Cavendish?
TONTO: Who eats hearts in a family movie?
OCR: Some critics complained about an inconsistent tone in the movie.
LONE RANGER: Indian massacres in one scene, slapstick in the next scene. It seemed like they didn't know what kind of a movie they wanted to make.
TONTO: Either make a serious movie about the Lone Ranger or make a spoof. You can't have it both ways.
OCR: Well, at least they got the "William Tell Overture" right.
LONE RANGER: Yeah, but it took two hours to get there. I preferred the TV show, when they opened every show with the theme song.
TONTO: It was the best part of the movie and they buried it. I think they assumed people would still be watching the movie by then.
OCR: Any last thoughts on the movie?
LONE RANGER: Hi-Yo Silver, away.
TONTO: Good one, Kemosabe..
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Imitation is the sincerest form of filmmaking
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