Johnny Depp on not wanting Tonto to be a sidekick

Exclusive: “Since cinema has been around, Native Americans have been treated very poorly by Hollywood”

Johnny Depp’s Tonto and Armie Hammer’s The Lone Ranger head up the band of rebels and outlaws that are leading the charge in Total Film magazine issue 208.

Celebrating the renegades, mavericks and lone wolves of cinema, we’re looking at the stars and directors not afraid to break the mould.

Inside the issue (available for just £1.99 on your iPad), we catch up with Depp, Hammer, and director-producer power-team Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer to find out why they’ve turned their attention from the high seas to the wild west.

You can read the full feature inside the rebel issue, but for now, here’s a snippet of what Depp had to say about reinventing Tonto, the Ranger’s Native American sidekick.

“Since cinema has been around, Native Americans have been treated very poorly by Hollywood,” Depp told us. “What I wanted to do was play Tonto not as a sidekick – like ‘go fetch a soda for me, boy!’ – but as a warrior with integrity and dignity. It’s my small sliver of a contribution to try to right the wrongs of the past.”

Plus, for Depp, this time it’s personal. “I’m probably one sixteenth Native American, but of course that’s hard to trace. Basically that means it’s likely that, somewhere along the line, you were a product of rape.”

The Lone Ranger opens in the UK opens in the UK on 9 August 2013, after a 3 July bow in the US.

For much more from Depp and co. on The Lone Ranger, pick up Total Film magazine issue 208, which is out now!

Read a full preview of Total Film magazine issue 208

Subscribe to Total Film magazine now!

Get the Total Film interactive iPad edition for just £1.99!

Android users: Get Total Film magazine from Google Play!

Do you reckon The Lone Ranger will hold its own in a summer of superpowered epics? Tell us below…


    • Ali1748

      Jun 7th 2013, 17:27

      Let me get this right Johnny, you wanted to play a Native American despite the fact there is perfectly good native American actors already out there ? Yeah this is surely going to help the problem of Hollywood treating them poorly.

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    • FBALeal

      Jun 7th 2013, 18:27

      Ali - Give me a break. If you expect Johnny Depp not to work because they are Native American actors around then you really know nothing about how making movies works. I support Depp completely and I think he is awesome. They are no reasons to bash him out.

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    • allykatharvey

      Jun 7th 2013, 18:49

      Looks like Jack Sparrow again with a big dead bird. Sorry Johnny. Just a bit OTT this time. (Were any animals harmed in the making of this film? Is the bird a stunt double for "Springwatch"?)

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    • FBALeal

      Jun 7th 2013, 19:41

      I can`t wait to read a comment from someone who has actually seen the movie. Which for now, is none of us.

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    • Ali1748

      Jun 7th 2013, 23:10

      There is every reason to bash Johnny he's been phoning it in for years. Lone Ranger and Pirates 5 are nothing more than cash grabs, it's not like Depp's bank account isn't already fat. Besides I was mocking his bs reasoning about trying to bring credibility to Native American roles. I will cut him some slack because at least he's making Transcendence with Wally Pfister.

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    • Hadouken76

      Jun 8th 2013, 20:09

      Jack Sparrow and Edward Scissorhands has cemented his iconic status, so maybe he should concentrate on acting rather than performing. People forget how good he was in Donnie Brasco, Finding Neverland and Blow, before the Tim Burton machine proceessed him into Hollywood cheese.

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    • crystakura

      Jun 10th 2013, 12:51

      'Since cinema has been around, Native Americans have been treated very poorly by Hollywood' Then perhaps he should have recommended a good Native American to play the role instead of having the white man steal yet something else from them

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