'Pirates' pair, Dis saddle up 'Ranger' redo

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Writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are going from "shiver me timbers!" to "Hi-yo Silver!"

The writing duo, best known for their work on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, are in final negotiations to write a live-action big-screen adaptation of "The Lone Ranger" for Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

The project will be made by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films in association with Entertainment Rights.

"Ranger," owned by Classic Media, began life as a 1930s radio show. Its popularity led to movie serials, TV shows, comic strips and comic books, toys, novels and more.

The hero's origin story begins with a group of Texas Rangers chasing down a gang of outlaws led by Butch Cavendish. The gang ambushes the Rangers, seemingly killing them all. One survivor is found, however, by an American Indian named Tonto, who nurses him back to health. The Ranger, donning a mask and riding a white stallion named Silver, teams up with Tonto to bring the unscrupulous gang and others of that ilk to justice.

Despite the long-standing presence in pop culture, however, "Ranger" has not enjoyed success in modern times. The character's most recent shot at the big screen, 1981's "The Legend of the Lone Ranger," failed so badly that the film's star, Klinton Spilsbury, never worked in Hollywood again. In 2003, WB Network aired a TV movie that served as a backdoor pilot, but it also bit the dust.

Part of the problems are the character's tropes — wearing a mask, using only silver bullets, a creed that includes not killing your fellow man, the exclamation "Hi-yo Silver, away!" — which can seem musty to today's audiences.

Rossio and Elliott, however, do have experience bringing back genres that seemed passe. The CAA-repped duo wrote "The Mask of Zorro," the hit adventure movie featuring one of the Ranger's contemporaries, as well as Disney's "Pirates" franchise, which breathed new life into the old skull and crossbones.

Bruckheimer is producing "Ranger," and Bruckheimer Films' Mike Stenson and Chad Oman are executive producing. Jason Reed is overseeing at Disney.
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