Johnny Depp tells Disney he won't make Lone Ranger without director Gore Verbinski

There were some rumors after Disney pulled the plug on the increasingly expensive LONE RANGER project that the studio might want to move forward without director Gore Verbinski. But that's not going to happen. As all parties negotiate toward resuscitating LONE RANGER with a smaller budget, star Johnny Depp made it clear to Disney execs he wouldn't make the film without Verbinski.

Depp and Verbinski worked together on the first three PIRATES movies and later on the animated hit RANGO. It's clear that Depp, who's fiercely loyal to his favorite directors (see: Tim Burton), is willing to stick by his friend instead of letting Disney push him out, compromising the film's vision to get the budget down below $200MM (it was at $275MM when Disney balked).

Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have been working to get the budget down to a manageable level and reports have it that they're down to about $215MM, which may be something of a compromise between Disney and the filmmakers. Depp reportedly still very much wants to make the movie (or more specifically, the movie he developed with Verbinski) and Disney still wants to make the movie with Depp but on their terms.

Slashing the costs might have more to do with Depp, Bruckheimer and Verbinski taking less in their contracts than taking a whole lot away from the script. (Disney wants them to spend less money but doesn't want to lose any of the film's "wow factor"...)

Disney would still like to keep the film's December, 2012 release date but the question is whether all parties can come together and make a deal that works. And then whether Disney will regret this movie when audiences realize they're about to go watch a western with werewolves.

Source: Deadline



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