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This story first appeared in the Oct. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The Lone Ranger is riding again — and again and again, it seems. The pricey Disney movie (with a $250 million budget or more, depending on whom you ask) is nearing the end of one of the longest principal-photography shoots in recent memory.
Filming on the Johnny Depp starrer began Feb. 28 in New Mexico and is expected to wrap at the end of September, for a total of between 140 and 150 shooting days. (The on-set death Sept. 21 of a welder who was preparing an underwater action sequence for the film is not expected to impact the timeline.)
Many who have worked with director Gore Verbinski (the first three Pirates of the Caribbean), whose pursuit of authenticity and scope caused the construction of massive sets and real working trains, say they aren’t surprised by the length. “He likes to shoot and shoot and shoot,” says one insider.
But some delays were beyond Disney’s control: Wind and dust storms damaged the sets, and Depp reportedly was injured in a fall from a horse. And Ranger is hardly alone in its extended shoot this year.
Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained wrapped July 25 after 130 days. Fury Road, George Miller‘s upcoming Mad Max prequel, is currently shooting, and though its latest production schedule is not known, two years ago the plan called for a whopping 180-day shoot.
For comparison’s sake, the Steven Spielberg classic Jaws shot for 116 days, while Raiders of the Lost Ark shot for just 75.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in 274 days (plus pickups), but Peter Jackson shot all three movies concurrently.
And according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest constant movie shoot was 400 days, a benchmark held by 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick‘s final movie that starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
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