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THE LONE RANGER

Shaping the Story
As with many ambitious projects, it was a long and winding road that brought the new version of "The Lone Ranger" to fruition. But neither producer Jerry Bruckheimer nor director Gore Verbinski are men to be easily dissuaded once their hearts and minds are focused. "We knew that it was time for 'The Lone Ranger' and Westerns to be reborn," says Bruckheimer, "just as Gore and I knew that it was time for pirate movies to be resurrected when we first developed 'Pirates of the Caribbean' for the screen a decade ago. There's a reason why people have relished these characters and genres for decades, and we knew that if we re- introduced them in a fresh and exciting way, they would fall in love with them all over again."

Verbinski was interested in directing "The Lone Ranger" only if they could take the classic story and stand it on its ear. "I think if you're a fan of the original TV series," Verbinski says, "you're going to be surprised by the movie, because everybody knows that story, and that's not the story we're telling. We're telling the story from Tonto's perspective, kind of like 'Don Quixote,' told from Sancho Panza's point of view. I would say that at its core, our version is a buddy story and an action-adventure film with a lot of irony and humor and enough odd singularity to make it distinct."

To write the fresh take on the legendary tale, the filmmakers hired the brilliant screenwriting team of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who had also scribed all four of the hugely successful "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, the first three of which were collaborations between Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, and Justin Haythe, who wrote "Revolutionary Road" for Sam Mendes.

Commenting on the story, producer Jerry Bruckheimer says, "This is the story of how John Reid becomes the Lone Ranger," adds Bruckheimer, "but in the framework of a 'dramedy' between two characters from totally different backgrounds, who are really at odds at the beginning of the story and through the course of their relationship come to a kind of uneasy bonding. Our version has a lot of excitement, adventure, drama, comedy, spectacle and emotion. And because of Gore's vision, it's also huge."

Bruckheimer was thrilled that his "Pirates" partner Gore Verbinski was onboard the "The Lone Ranger." "Gore is an amazingly talented director, someone who encompasses it all. Sometimes you find a director who does comedy well but can't do action, or those who can only do action," says Bruckheimer. "Gore is one of the very few directors who can do everything -- action, drama, comedy, animation -- with equal brilliance. He's highly visual and lets nothing stand in his way to create sequences that have never been seen before, and then he somehow finds a way to shoot them to maximum effect."

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