After Disney pulled the brakes on The Lone Ranger last month due to budget concerns producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski tried to bring the budget down from $250m to $215m, while still trying to keep enough spectacle to attract worldwide audiences and earn sequels.
We previously heard that Johnny Depp wouldn’t make the movie without his Pirates of the Caribbean director, putting pressure on Disney to agree on a budget, but it looks like things have been worked out and filming could take place early next year.
I’m hearing that the studio is likely to have everything resolved by next week, and can start rehiring crew so that the picture will be ready to begin production in January or February. How that late start impacts the Dec. 21, 2012 release date remains to be seen, but Johnny Depp will get to play Tonto (Disney wouldn’t make the movie without him), and Armie Hammer will be back in as the title character. Ruth Wilson, the scene-stealing killer from Idris Elba’s British cop series Luther, is also expected back as the female lead.
The Lone Ranger was originally looking to shooting in October in New Mexico, which will offer the studio tax breaks. While production has been delayed it could still shoot there, but the December 21, 2012 release date will probably be pushed back to summer 2013 or later. As well as Depp and Hammer, the movie is also set to star Dwight Yoakam, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale and Barry Pepper.