Johnny Depp is very, very used to wearing strange costumes. As Captain Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Willy Wonka, the Mad Hatter, and other off-beat characters, Depp has slathered himself in makeup, donned big hats and puffy blouses, tightened himself into black leather—on and on and on, all in the name of “acting.” That’s why his costume as Tonto from the upcoming The Lone Ranger seems completely appropriate, featuring a hat made out of a dead crow, stark black-and-white face paint, the most culturally-lifting headdress this side of Ke$ha, and a ton of necklaces. Next to Depp, Arnie Hammer looks positively conservative in the familiar Lone Ranger mask.
It’s the first promotional image we’ve seen from The Lone Ranger, but a necessary one. After years of rumored development, the production only started filming this week all around New Mexico. That puts it right on schedule for a targeted May 31, 2013 release date, where it’ll try to sneak into a summer blockbuster schedule that looks remarkably thin on superhero movies (Man of Steel aside) for the first time in a long while. Production was delayed past an intended October 2011 start after Disney wanted producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski—the team that helmed those Pirates of the Carribean pictures—to trim down the budget from an estimated $250-275 million to a far, far more reasonable $210 million. With the money a little more under control, there won’t be anything keeping audiences from the adventures of that masked man.
Disney says the film is about “Native American spirit warrior Tonto, [who] recounts the untold tales that transformed Jon Reid (Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice – taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.” So it’s a movie, then. May 2013 awaits out money.