Johnny Depp: Lone Ranger film shut down

Original Cast for the Lone Ranger and Tonto

Original Cast for the Lone Ranger and Tonto

Walt Disney’s big screen adaption of ‘The Lone Ranger’ has been put on hold. Starring  Johnny Depp  as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, the modern retake on the classic western has been shut down due to pre-production problems with reducing the movie’s estimated budget from $250m to $200m. The cost as it stands will make the Lone Ranger the most expensive western ever made.

Depp, Verbinski and Bruckheimer

Due to start filming in October, the film saw the collaboration of members of the Disney hit Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, including Depp, Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer. Bruckheimer was set to produce the film with the script written by Justin Haythe.

The film adaptation comes from The Lone Ranger show centred on a masked Texas Ranger who battles injustice in the Old West. It first aired on the radio back in the 1930s and twenty years later became a hit TV series, and ran for nearly eight years.

An insider told Deadline Hollywood that the project was put on hold due to spiralling costs. The move to put the project on hold is a major blow to Bruckheimer, who has produced four of the Pirates of the Caribbean films for Disney.

Verbinski not willing to reduce budget

A source said that Verbinski does not want to budge from the budget he thinks the movie needs. Executives at Walt Disney say the film may be put back in to production if the budget is cut down. The film’s producers are now discussing whether it would be worth taking the project to another film studio or continuing with the project at the later date with a reduced cost.

The surprise move to stop production before filming comes after another expensive western ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ staring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford performed poorly at the box offices on release just this month. This is not the first time that Disney had pulled the plug on a major big screen production, earlier this year the 3D remake of The Beatles film ‘Yellow Submarine’ was cut due to production costs.

The movie adaptation was scheduled to be released on December 21st 2012.

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