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Johnny Depp explains the origin of his make-up design for The Lone Ranger

04.23.2012

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When the first picture of Johnny Depp as Tonto in THE LONE RANGER appeared, it definitely caused a bit of a stir. Conforming neither to the traditional style of the Comanche people (technically Tonto's tribe) nor the traditional depiction of Tonto himself, I definitely dug the look of the character despite how hard it was not to think "so how is a face full of white make-up relevant in this particular case?" 

Well Depp has an answer, and an encouraging one at that.  “I’d actually seen a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler (called I Am Crow - see it below), 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.  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,” he said.”That makeup inspired me.”

Johnny Deppy and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger

As for the bird on the head bit? “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.  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.”

Meanwhile, artist Kirby Sattler had this to say about his process: “The portraits I paint are composites created from a variety of visual references coupled with my imagination,” he says. “While being broadly based in a historical context, my paintings are not intended to be viewed as historically accurate. I used the combination of face paint and  headdress as an artistic expression to symbolize the subject’s essence and his affinity to the Crow.”

So there you have it.  If you're interested in any of the other work by Kirby Sattler, his website can be found right here.  THE LONE RANGER opens on May 31st, 2013.

I Am Crow by Kirby Sattler

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: I sincerely hope that Depp's efforts in this movie spark a new kind of Native American presence in cinema. To have a project like WINDTALKERS only every once in a blue while is really something that needs to be remedied.

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3:11PM on 04/24/2012

The movie is fantasy!

To all who are going on about portrayals of Native Americans in cinema and how they have no voice in how they are portrayed, wake up, this is 2012! If a Native American wanted to they have every right to make a movie and portray themselves as they see fit. Just like Verbinski, Depp, and the writers of Lone Ranger have every right to sensationalize as they see fit. This is artistic expression, and it seems to honor Native American culture, if not flat out imitate it. Also, the movie is going to
To all who are going on about portrayals of Native Americans in cinema and how they have no voice in how they are portrayed, wake up, this is 2012! If a Native American wanted to they have every right to make a movie and portray themselves as they see fit. Just like Verbinski, Depp, and the writers of Lone Ranger have every right to sensationalize as they see fit. This is artistic expression, and it seems to honor Native American culture, if not flat out imitate it. Also, the movie is going to be more in line with Pirates of the Caribbean (in terms of ghoulish creatures and supernatural powers) than it will be your typical classic Western, according to all the descriptions. It's fantastical.
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3:31PM on 04/23/2012

About Native American portrayal

I think that this is certainly not the type of "presence" that is fair for Native Americans. A step forward? i dont know, more ACTUAL Native Americans holding a greater presence in the larger film industry. This is the same shit Hollywood has done for over a century: portrayals of Indian cultures that are idealized, demonized, over-simplified, totally fabricated, and made to seem exotic to appeal to the masses' preconceived notions of a hugely diverse people that have little control over
I think that this is certainly not the type of "presence" that is fair for Native Americans. A step forward? i dont know, more ACTUAL Native Americans holding a greater presence in the larger film industry. This is the same shit Hollywood has done for over a century: portrayals of Indian cultures that are idealized, demonized, over-simplified, totally fabricated, and made to seem exotic to appeal to the masses' preconceived notions of a hugely diverse people that have little control over their own image.
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3:08PM on 04/23/2012
Im more bothered by the Lone Ranger looking like a total pussy.
Im more bothered by the Lone Ranger looking like a total pussy.
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11:18AM on 04/24/2012
Dumb white man!
Dumb white man!
1:45PM on 04/23/2012
I actually like the look except for the white paint. If it weren't for the fact that Depp wears white face paint in about half of his films (ie, Tim Burton), then maybe I wouldn't mind it. If it were the stripes without the white goop, I'd be more on board with this I think.
I actually like the look except for the white paint. If it weren't for the fact that Depp wears white face paint in about half of his films (ie, Tim Burton), then maybe I wouldn't mind it. If it were the stripes without the white goop, I'd be more on board with this I think.
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11:50AM on 04/23/2012

Interesting.

For a minute I thought Johnny Depp went to that artist dude and said "You gotta help man, draw some mystical Indian guy to justify my ridiculous Tonto costume coz I'm getting way too much heat."

But hey, what do I know :D
For a minute I thought Johnny Depp went to that artist dude and said "You gotta help man, draw some mystical Indian guy to justify my ridiculous Tonto costume coz I'm getting way too much heat."

But hey, what do I know :D
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11:50AM on 04/23/2012

Interesting.

For a minute I thought Johnny Depp went to that artist dude and said "You gotta help man, draw some mystical Indian guy to justify my ridiculous Tonto costume coz I'm getting way too much heat."

But hey, what do I know :D
For a minute I thought Johnny Depp went to that artist dude and said "You gotta help man, draw some mystical Indian guy to justify my ridiculous Tonto costume coz I'm getting way too much heat."

But hey, what do I know :D
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10:34AM on 04/23/2012
I just might vomit with the next inevitable Tim Burton and Johnny Depp pairing announcement.

Gimmicks that need to end:
- 3D
- Trailers for trailers.
- Johnny Depp in full makeup.
I just might vomit with the next inevitable Tim Burton and Johnny Depp pairing announcement.

Gimmicks that need to end:
- 3D
- Trailers for trailers.
- Johnny Depp in full makeup.
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11:50AM on 04/23/2012
Don't forget the film score by Danny Elfman...Tim Burton's gotta have that in almost every movie of his.
Don't forget the film score by Danny Elfman...Tim Burton's gotta have that in almost every movie of his.
1:43PM on 04/23/2012
...and Helena Binham Carter- remember the good ol' days when Burton put Lisa "Boom Boom" Marie in all his movies?
...and Helena Binham Carter- remember the good ol' days when Burton put Lisa "Boom Boom" Marie in all his movies?
1:44PM on 04/23/2012
Hey wait- Lone Ranger isn't Burton- ha ha, oh well
Hey wait- Lone Ranger isn't Burton- ha ha, oh well
10:32AM on 04/23/2012
Actually the make-up makes sense now. As for the extra tidbit, I wish there's a live-action film of Bravestarr. I remember watching the cartoon and thought that, while it's formulaic, Bravestarr the character was fresh and it was nice to see Native Americans as the hero of the show.
Actually the make-up makes sense now. As for the extra tidbit, I wish there's a live-action film of Bravestarr. I remember watching the cartoon and thought that, while it's formulaic, Bravestarr the character was fresh and it was nice to see Native Americans as the hero of the show.
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11:11AM on 04/23/2012
heck yea! I used to have some Bravestar toys as a kid!
heck yea! I used to have some Bravestar toys as a kid!
11:54AM on 04/23/2012
I think I still have Bravestarr somewhere in the attic.
I think I still have Bravestarr somewhere in the attic.
10:07AM on 04/23/2012
Just another pathetic excuse for Depp to dress up and act strange. This movie is going to be pure shit and Depp is an asshole for claiming to be part Indian and then not knowing shit about it. Cast a real Native American. There are plenty qualified to pull off the role, Depp could have been cast as a quirky villain and this would have been a better project.
Just another pathetic excuse for Depp to dress up and act strange. This movie is going to be pure shit and Depp is an asshole for claiming to be part Indian and then not knowing shit about it. Cast a real Native American. There are plenty qualified to pull off the role, Depp could have been cast as a quirky villain and this would have been a better project.
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11:10AM on 04/23/2012
Go fuck yourself!
Go fuck yourself!
11:29AM on 04/23/2012
@DieHardDeppFan - I would not expect anything less than a response like that from someone who actually likes Depp's work enough to use him as a screen name. Your IQ must be in the low 40s.
@DieHardDeppFan - I would not expect anything less than a response like that from someone who actually likes Depp's work enough to use him as a screen name. Your IQ must be in the low 40s.
4:10PM on 04/23/2012
Well I guess I am another asshole from Kentucky who is part Indian and am proud of it. I loved The Lone Ranger growing up and think Depp will be a good Tonto since he loves the character so much. So I have to say I disagree, but as far as the person who said go fuck yourself, well that was just uncalled for.
Well I guess I am another asshole from Kentucky who is part Indian and am proud of it. I loved The Lone Ranger growing up and think Depp will be a good Tonto since he loves the character so much. So I have to say I disagree, but as far as the person who said go fuck yourself, well that was just uncalled for.
+10
10:01AM on 04/23/2012
If Hollywood wanted to create a larger Native American presence on the big screen perhaps they shouldnt have cast a German/English guy born in Kentucky as Tonto. Depp's cherokee heritage is significantly watered down so lets not pull the crap that they cast a Native American in this role to try and score some points for the few true natives left living here.

I do like the look however and the painting is downright gorgeous.
If Hollywood wanted to create a larger Native American presence on the big screen perhaps they shouldnt have cast a German/English guy born in Kentucky as Tonto. Depp's cherokee heritage is significantly watered down so lets not pull the crap that they cast a Native American in this role to try and score some points for the few true natives left living here.

I do like the look however and the painting is downright gorgeous.
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9:36AM on 04/23/2012
Still a wild make-up job but at least it makes sense now. I was wondering why Tonto had a bird on his head.
Still a wild make-up job but at least it makes sense now. I was wondering why Tonto had a bird on his head.
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