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Johnny Depp wants to know why the f*ck the Lone Ranger orders Tonto around

05.09.2011

Hi, I'm Niki. I'll be the one bringing you most of the news on Disney's THE LONE RANGER.

In today's news, Johnny Depp is standing up for the treatment of Native Americans. Depp wasn't all too pleased with the way that Tonto was portrayed in the original television series, “I remember watching it as a kid, with Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore, and going: ‘Why is the f—ing Lone Ranger telling Tonto what to do? 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. And 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.”

This shouldn't have been much of a surprise for him. The portrayal of Native Americans in cinema has always been like this. Not only does it seem nearly impossible to find an actual Native American to play Native American, but they are always played over the top.

Depp feels a need to defend what Native American ancestry he does have in his family tree, “I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line. My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.”

The treatment of Native Americans really affects Depp as he thinks back to what horrific things his ancestors may have been subject to, The interesting thing, if you find out you’ve got Native American blood, which a lot of people do, is you think about where it comes from and go back and read the great books, Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee or [John Ehle's] Trail of Tears, you have to think, somewhere along the line, I’m the product of some horrific rape. You just have that little sliver in your chemical makeup.”

Extra Tidbit: "You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, you will play golf, and enjoy hot hors d'oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, "Do not trust the Pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller."
Source: EW

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1:31AM on 05/13/2011
As a big fan of "Dead Man" which Depp starred in, and which used actual Native Americans to play Native Americans, I feel like this is a step down for him to participate in this troublesome whitewashing that Hollywood loves to engage in.
As a big fan of "Dead Man" which Depp starred in, and which used actual Native Americans to play Native Americans, I feel like this is a step down for him to participate in this troublesome whitewashing that Hollywood loves to engage in.
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2:58PM on 05/10/2011
Love the Addams Family tidbit! That said - get a life, Mr. Depp. "My grandma might have been, blah, or blah, maybe, because people from Kentucky blah..." ...REALLY?
Love the Addams Family tidbit! That said - get a life, Mr. Depp. "My grandma might have been, blah, or blah, maybe, because people from Kentucky blah..." ...REALLY?
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11:47AM on 05/10/2011

Creek? Does he mean Cree?

Adam Beach for Tonto FTW
Adam Beach for Tonto FTW
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+4
10:58AM on 05/10/2011
Have some faith in Mr Depp. Come on, he was the one who wanted to play Jack Sparrow like a drunk rock star and the producers thought he was wrong about that to begin with! :) Turns out we all kinda liked it.
Have some faith in Mr Depp. Come on, he was the one who wanted to play Jack Sparrow like a drunk rock star and the producers thought he was wrong about that to begin with! :) Turns out we all kinda liked it.
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10:58AM on 05/10/2011

Taylor Lautner for Tonto!

He's the obvious choice really. He's definitely super native American and great actor, he only looks mildly like he has downs. This movie seems like a stupid idea to me. I like depp but he needs to be in better movies and get away from being a pirate or in Tim Burton movies all the time.
He's the obvious choice really. He's definitely super native American and great actor, he only looks mildly like he has downs. This movie seems like a stupid idea to me. I like depp but he needs to be in better movies and get away from being a pirate or in Tim Burton movies all the time.
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8:50AM on 05/10/2011

Lost all respect for this remake now

This will be "Green Hornet" all over again with the sidekick getting the credit, the girls, the fight scenes, and the hero looking like a bumbling idiot. Forget that! If you don't have respect for the source then go kill yourself before trying to make a movie about what you use to love as a kid.
This will be "Green Hornet" all over again with the sidekick getting the credit, the girls, the fight scenes, and the hero looking like a bumbling idiot. Forget that! If you don't have respect for the source then go kill yourself before trying to make a movie about what you use to love as a kid.
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1:20AM on 05/13/2011
What are you on about? Kato was ALWAYS the real hero of that duo. That's how it was played from the start. Stop being silly.
What are you on about? Kato was ALWAYS the real hero of that duo. That's how it was played from the start. Stop being silly.
12:27AM on 05/10/2011
I don't care that much for Depp. Don't like him don't hate him as an actor. I get what he's saying and it's all very honorable I think, BUT, the Lone Ranger is the Lone Ranger. And I love the Lone Ranger. And Tonto is a great sidekick. But I don't want to see Tonto the movie featuring the Lone Ranger. Tonto's the sidekick and that's how it should stay.
I don't care that much for Depp. Don't like him don't hate him as an actor. I get what he's saying and it's all very honorable I think, BUT, the Lone Ranger is the Lone Ranger. And I love the Lone Ranger. And Tonto is a great sidekick. But I don't want to see Tonto the movie featuring the Lone Ranger. Tonto's the sidekick and that's how it should stay.
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12:07AM on 05/10/2011
Graham Greene for Tonto! You know that would be awesome!
Graham Greene for Tonto! You know that would be awesome!
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11:30PM on 05/09/2011
So....he means to say "When I play Tonto like I play every character that doesn't have an accent or major quirk, you'll know why". I love Depp, but this sounds more like a preface to a disaster.

Also, why is he Tonto? Couldn't they get a Native American actor (and saying there are none is horse shit and you know it) to play Tonto? If Depp is that important for Disney to have around, give him the mask.

Unless he said no to that idea and they were too scared to tell him no and thus put
So....he means to say "When I play Tonto like I play every character that doesn't have an accent or major quirk, you'll know why". I love Depp, but this sounds more like a preface to a disaster.

Also, why is he Tonto? Couldn't they get a Native American actor (and saying there are none is horse shit and you know it) to play Tonto? If Depp is that important for Disney to have around, give him the mask.

Unless he said no to that idea and they were too scared to tell him no and thus put Pirates into jeopardy.
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+11
10:14PM on 05/09/2011
I'm all for making a remake of The Lone Ranger, but stating tat you're going to somehow make up for the mistreatment of natives in cinema by doing so... and will do it by being a white guy cast as the native in the film is just pure BS.

The only thing Depp's statement helps to emphasize is how a new Lone Ranger movie with top billing going to "Tonto" is only possible through making Tonto white.

Just make the damn movie and don't try to justify it through some sort of "long lost native
I'm all for making a remake of The Lone Ranger, but stating tat you're going to somehow make up for the mistreatment of natives in cinema by doing so... and will do it by being a white guy cast as the native in the film is just pure BS.

The only thing Depp's statement helps to emphasize is how a new Lone Ranger movie with top billing going to "Tonto" is only possible through making Tonto white.

Just make the damn movie and don't try to justify it through some sort of "long lost native american ancestor" nonsense.
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+3
10:12PM on 05/09/2011
Depp is great but maybe not always so articulate. I think what he means is fair enough, but his message is muddled, kind of like the film he directed was, The Brave. Good thing Verbinski is in charge.
Depp is great but maybe not always so articulate. I think what he means is fair enough, but his message is muddled, kind of like the film he directed was, The Brave. Good thing Verbinski is in charge.
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10:07PM on 05/09/2011
I'm still waiting for someone to turn the cinematic portrayal of drunken Irish brawlers on its head.
I'm still waiting for someone to turn the cinematic portrayal of drunken Irish brawlers on its head.
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+4
9:47PM on 05/09/2011
I'm practically half caucasian and half mexican-indian (aztec, maya, that sort of thing). And I can understand how Depp feels, but eh. Actually, it's always the tiniest part of our genes we're most interested in. I'm 1/8 Italian, and that intrigues me more than my immediate heritage. What the hell am I ranting about?
I'm practically half caucasian and half mexican-indian (aztec, maya, that sort of thing). And I can understand how Depp feels, but eh. Actually, it's always the tiniest part of our genes we're most interested in. I'm 1/8 Italian, and that intrigues me more than my immediate heritage. What the hell am I ranting about?
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9:07PM on 05/09/2011
I myself am part indian, but way back farther than that indians attacked my ancestors homestead, killed the mother, kidnapped the children and only 2 of them manged to escape and survive. So I realize it wasnt just whites doing horrific acts and chances are I wasnt part of some horrific rape
I myself am part indian, but way back farther than that indians attacked my ancestors homestead, killed the mother, kidnapped the children and only 2 of them manged to escape and survive. So I realize it wasnt just whites doing horrific acts and chances are I wasnt part of some horrific rape
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8:49PM on 05/09/2011
I respect Depp and what he is trying to do, but this is a little absurd.

Maybe he should just replace Tonto with Jack Sparrow.
I respect Depp and what he is trying to do, but this is a little absurd.

Maybe he should just replace Tonto with Jack Sparrow.
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8:47PM on 05/09/2011

uhh sure

I've seen lots of great American Indian actors, graham greene, Wes Studi, I love those guys. Graham greene does a fantastic job in Dances with Wolves and Maverick. And Wes Studi does great work in movies like Last of the Mohicans and The New World. I'm not saying bad situations and depictions don't exist but I remember a lot of good stuff. And the Old John Wayne movie McClintock if anyone has seen it has the best native american tribe ever.
I've seen lots of great American Indian actors, graham greene, Wes Studi, I love those guys. Graham greene does a fantastic job in Dances with Wolves and Maverick. And Wes Studi does great work in movies like Last of the Mohicans and The New World. I'm not saying bad situations and depictions don't exist but I remember a lot of good stuff. And the Old John Wayne movie McClintock if anyone has seen it has the best native american tribe ever.
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8:00AM on 05/10/2011
McClintock is one of my all time favs. +1 for you.
McClintock is one of my all time favs. +1 for you.
+11
8:35PM on 05/09/2011
It's good to see Depp stand up for natives, but this is a little over the top. Certainly, they have always had a bad rap and still get the short end of the stick. However, Depp trying to relate to the issue by bringing up some miniscule amount of native american blood he has is kinda pushing it. Don't try to make the issue more personal by bringing up some potential bit of culture you have. Just stand up for the issue cause it's the right thing to do. Nothing else is necessary.
It's good to see Depp stand up for natives, but this is a little over the top. Certainly, they have always had a bad rap and still get the short end of the stick. However, Depp trying to relate to the issue by bringing up some miniscule amount of native american blood he has is kinda pushing it. Don't try to make the issue more personal by bringing up some potential bit of culture you have. Just stand up for the issue cause it's the right thing to do. Nothing else is necessary.
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8:25PM on 05/09/2011
Because people got away with a lot of shit on tv back then that they cant get away with now? I barely remember watching The Lone Ranger as a kid and dont remember Tonto being ordered around per se. He was the sidekick though.. the side kick always gets ordered around.
Because people got away with a lot of shit on tv back then that they cant get away with now? I barely remember watching The Lone Ranger as a kid and dont remember Tonto being ordered around per se. He was the sidekick though.. the side kick always gets ordered around.
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