The new Lone Ranger movie is already generating controversy regarding the questionable casting of Johnny Depp, of all people, as Tonto. Many white Hollywood actors on ego trips in the past have identified with the Native American cause—notably, Marlon Brando and Kevin Costner. But they never went so far as play a Native American role themselves. We’re right back at German-born Henry Brandon playing Indian chief Scar in John Ford’s “The Searchers.”
As part of the promotion of the new film, Disney Corp seems intent on “open-ended” financing of Native American groups to buy their silence. See:
Note that Johnny Depp is Executive Producer of the flick, so it would’ve been hard to bump him off the project.
Whichever way you slice it, pretentious Depp is a come-down from impressive Indian actor Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto in the 1950’s.
Meanwhile, the silliest, most egregious, most brain-dead website in all the American literary scene, McSweeney’s, has weighed in with their own take on the issue:
Note how writer Natanya Ann Pulley is forced to write in the trademark McSweeney’s baby-talk style in order to express her views on the subject. Is she an adult, or an eight year-old? What’s more embarrassing: Johnny Depp in white face with a bird on his head, or Natanya Ann Pulley’s goo-goo-gaga McSweeneysSpeak?
See my pre-release review of the movie, here:
This pre-review of “The Lone Ranger” will be included in an upcoming ebook I’m doing on the Western film genre. Email me to get in line for a prerelease copy!