Johnny Depp has, improbably, become one of the world’s biggest movie stars. He has a great number of projects in the works, from Dark Shadows and a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie to Lone Ranger, The Thin Man and, a bit further on the horizon, a possible biopic of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.

Depp doesn’t give a great many long interviews, but he did recently appear on Larry King’s show as part of the promotion for The Rum Diary, which is the second film in which he plays a version of the late author Hunter S. Thompson. During that interview Depp touched on a number of upcoming projects. Among them was the Dr. Seuss biopic, which he says will incorporate animation and live action, with Seuss’ classic characters appearing alongside human actors. Read More »

Now that Disney is moving forward with Lone Ranger, even giving the movie a revised release date (May 31, 2013 — more on that movie in a few minutes) the studio is moving some other things around. Most notably, Disney has pushed Thor 2 back from July 26 2013 to November 15, 2013. That July 26 date isn’t going to be devoid of Disney product, however, as the studio will stick Phineas and Ferb in there.

Update: Patty Jenkins has been confirmed as the director of Thor 2. The press release has been added below.

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We’re still talking about Disney’s crazy-ass $215m Lone Ranger, to be directed by Gore Verbinski with Johnny Depp playing Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Ranger, because Disney is still planning to make the damn thing. The studio put the project on hold weeks ago, then went through quite a bit of public wrangling over budgets and fees. The movie that Gore Verbinski once described as “Don Quixote from Sancho Panza’s point of view” (with the Ranger being Quixote, making Tonto the lead) suddenly had werewolves — goddamn werewolves — and giant expensive train sequences.

But the film got a green light this week, in part because many of the above the line participants — Depp, Verbinski, Hammer and producer Jerry Bruckheimer — agreed to a pay cut. There’s even a scheduled start date: February 6, 2012, with the producing aiming for a May 31, 2013 release date. To make that happen, quite a few changes were made. We summarize those, and pass on Johnny Depp’s intentions in playing Tonto, after the break. Read More »

Disney Ready to Let ‘Lone Ranger’ Back On the Range

Are you tired of the back and forth, ‘maybe they will, maybe they won’t’ non-action on Disney’s Lone Ranger? If so, you might be in luck, at least if the idea of the movie happening still seems like a good idea. The studio looks like it is ready to re-commit to the project with Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp. The green light hasn’t been given yet, but the current word is that Disney will probably flash that signal next week, leading to an early 2012 shoot. Read More »

Today in The Continuing Adventures of Disney’s Lone Ranger, that film production cliffhanger that I’m not certain actually has people on pins and needles to discover what happens next, we’ve got budget cuts and stalwart friendship. One of those things is, at least, a core value of the Lone Ranger.

What we’ve known so far is that producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski, star Johnny Depp and screenwriter Justin Haythe handed Disney a script that was going to cost well over $250m — closer to $275m — and the studio rightly balked. So for the past couple weeks there has been a very public back and forth over the film, with Disney exec Rich Ross saying he wants to make it, but only for a much lower price. Script changes are being made; supernatural elements are being (thankfully) cut; and there was even discussion about whether the film might get made with a director other than Gore Verbinski.

So what’s happening now? The budget is lower, but perhaps not low enough, and Disney is looking at ponying up more than seems reasonable for a Western, or not making the movie at all. Read on… Read More »

Speculation continues as to whether Disney will or won’t bankroll a $200m Lone Ranger from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp. The studio canned the film just over a week ago thanks to budgetary concerns (it was running north of $250m) but various sources within Disney have indicated the project remains a possibility. Johnny Depp, after all, has been part of some of the studio’s biggest movies in the past decade — the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Alice in Wonderland — and is seen as one of the last bankable movie stars. (Tell that to the producers of The Rum Diary and The Tourist.)

The latest word on Lone Ranger comes from Disney executive Rich Ross, who said during the studio’s D23 Expo this weekend that he still very much wants to make the film. But he evidently omitted Gore Verbinski’s name when talking about the project, leading to even more rampant speculation that the studio wants to make a cheaper version of the movie with a different director. Read More »

‘Lone Ranger’ May Not Be Dead Yet

At the end of last week the biggest news might have been that Disney had canceled development of Gore Verbinski‘s Lone Ranger, which was set to star Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the title character. At issue was the budget. The film, based on a script full of visualizations of Native American mysticism and werewolves, and featuring a few big action sequences, was going to cost about $250 million to make.

What? $250m for a western! The Coens spent barely $40m on True Grit. Another $210m? Even with Johnny Depp, that’s a lot of digital werewolves. Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer aren’t ready to let the movie go just yet, however. Quite a few script changes and fee cuts are under way now. The werewolves have been given the boot (thankfully!) and it looks like some other big alterations are taking place in order to get the cost down to a far more reasonable $220m or less. Read More »

Sometimes even Johnny Depp is too expensive. Deadline is reporting that Disney has pulled the plug on The Lone Ranger, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, Gore Verbinski-directed action western based on the classic TV show that was scheduled for release next Christmas. According to reports, the proposed budget came in north of $240 million and even when it was cut back, was still more than $230 million. With expensive films like John Carter and Oz The Great and Powerful already at various stages of production, and The Lone Ranger not yet shooting, Disney cancelled the film to save some bucks. There’s more after the jump. Read More »

Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy director Gore Verbinski are really, truly making a new Lone Ranger, in which Johnny Depp will star as a sort of revisionist Tonto, with Armie Hammer (The Social Network, J. Edgar) playing the titular ranger. Now two Western veterans, Dwight Yoakam and Barry Pepper, are in talks for the film. Just for good measure Helena Bonham Carter is likely to join the cast, thereby making Lone Ranger a bridge between Johnny Depp’s major movie worlds, Tim Burton and Pirates of the Caribbean. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Ruth Wilson will be breaking into the boys’ club as the female lead of Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer as the Texas ranger and Johnny Depp as his sidekick Tonto. Although Wilson’s name may be unfamiliar to most Americans, she’s known in the UK for her work on the BBC’s Luther and the Masterpiece Theatre miniseries Jane Eyre. Wilson was selected over Jessica Chastain and Abbie Cornish, who were also being considered for the part, and is currently in negotiations. Very few details have been revealed about her character, named Rebecca.

Unlike the earlier versions of the property, Verbinski’s Lone Ranger will be told from Tonto’s perspective — “Don Quixote told from Sancho Panza’s point of view,” as Verbinski has described it. The film will hit theaters December 21. [Deadline]

After the jump, B.J. Novak joins The Dictator opposite Sacha Baron Cohen a.k.a. Borat, and Peter Mullan takes on an action thriller.

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