Johnny Depp on 'The Lone Ranger': We Knew the Budget Was Going to Be a Problem (Video)
The Disney project -- which missed its autumn start date because of long-running negotiations -- is now moving forward with a tighter budget.
Johnny Depp is ready to jump into the saddle for The Lone Ranger after months of budget negotiations threatened to derail the project.
As The Hollywood Reporter previously reported, the Disney movie missed its autumn start date because of the long-running talks, which ultimately saw the budget cut from an eye-popping $250 million down to $215 million.
So now the fantasy Western -- from director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Armie Hammer in the title role -- is back on track to start production next year.
Depp, who is currently promoting The Rum Diary, which opens Oct. 28, told MTV News that he and Verbinski were aware the budget was going to be a problem from the start.
"We knew that the budget was going to be huge initially, and we also knew that it was going to be shut down for a while, and it was kind of like we patiently wait -- we shave a little bit here, we do a little bit there, they fix it," he said.
As THR previously reported, the creatives involved reduced their fees: no $20 million for Depp, no $10 million apiece for Bruckheimer and Verbinski, as is their norm on tentpoles. In addition, sources told THR that the filmmakers will sacrifice their back-end participation if the film comes in over budget.
Meanwhile, one of several planned train sequences was scrapped, and several CGI-heavy bells and whistles were eliminated.
For his part, Depp said he really wanted a resolution that would allow the project to move forward because he's so invested in it.
"I like the character," he said. "I think I have interesting plans for the character, and I think the film itself could be entertaining and very funny. But also I like the idea of having the opportunity to make fun of the idea of the Indian as a sidekick -- which has always been [the case] throughout the history of Hollywood, the Native American has always been a second-class, third-class, fourth-class citizen, and I don't see Tonto that way at all. So it's an opportunity for me to salute Native Americans."