The Lone Ranger Red Carpet: Hi Ho, Cinema!

image009In 2003, director Gore Verbinski, screenwriters Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and actor Johnny Depp took a thirty-six year-old theme park ride and launched a multi-billion dollar franchise. Pirates of the Caribbeanand its star Captain Jack Sparrow have quickly become cinematic sacred works. Anytime a new Pirates movie is released, multiplexes sell out every seat and playgrounds are filled with children reenacting their favorite action sequences.

Ten years later, Verbinski, Elliott, Rossio and Depp have reunited to breathe new life into another time-worn property: The Lone Ranger. Whereas Pirates has been a mainstay at Disney parks since it opened, The Lone Ranger hasn’t seen any popularity since the 1950s. Created as the star of a radio show that was developed into a hit TV series, the character is currently a nostalgia figure for our parents and grandparents.

This weekend, Walt Disney Pictures is bringing the Lone Ranger and his Native American partner Tonto into the 21st century. Verbinski directs, Elliott & Rossio share screenplay credit with Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) and Depp has top billing as Tonto. Armie Hammer (The Social Network) dons the trademark white hat and black mask to portray the title character.

On Saturday, June 22, Disney invited entertainment journalists to the California Adventure theme park for The Lone Ranger‘s world premiere. As the blazing summer sun scorched this pale writer’s face, celebrities walked down the red carpet and spoke to the press.

While many of these performers were chained by corporate-mandated attendance – it’s no coincidence that nearly everyone we spoke to was currently appearing on the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney-owned ABC and ABC Family – enthusiasm radiated off of everyone.

image013While the younger crowd admitted their ignorance of the Western genre (aside from one bright-eyed teenager’s enthusiasm for the 1969 version of True Grit), everyone was eager for another taste of Johnny Depp’s bottomless talent. When asked for their favorite Depp film, the celebrities crowned Edward Scissorhands as the clear favorite. Surprisingly, the runner-up was romantic comedy Benny & Joon. If you enjoy Depp’s quirky humor, check out this movie for his recreations of classic Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin routines.

When Johnny Depp finally arrived, his handlers quickly rushed him past the journalists and into the theater. However, the star made sure to personally greet the spectators who truly mattered: the parents and children sitting on the sidelines, eager to bask in the screen idol’s glow. He gave each and every fan a wonderful memory that they will always cherish.

Armie Hammer, on the other hand, was a bit more camera friendly. Not long ago, he was all set to play Batman in a Justice League movie that fell by the wayside. But now, after assured performances in J. Edgarand Mirror Mirror, the deep-voiced actor finally has the chance to assume a legendary hero’s mantle.

Charming and confident at every turn, Hammer exudes charisma. Whether or not we see a Lone Ranger sequel depends on box office receipts, but it’s pretty safe to say that the film’s lead actor won’t be going on unemployment any time soon.

The Lone Ranger opens nationwide on July 3rd.


Images courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Publicity.

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