Revealed nearly two months ago that talks had begun, Deadline confirms that Gore Verbinski has officially signed on to direct the big screen version of "The Lone Ranger" with Johnny Depp attached to play Tonto.
This project has been kicking around for a while, as it has put its various pieces into place. Last we heard, Disney hired Justin Haythe, who adapted "Revolutionary Road" for Sam Mendes and wrote the Fox come-and-gone thriller, "The Clearing" and the "Jekyll" project for Keanu Reeves, to write the screenplay. So maybe it'll be a darker take on the material with more domestic strife. Or maybe not.
Of course, Verbinksi and Depp are no strangers, having worked together on three of the four "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movies and on the upcoming animated film Rango. No word yet on when this will go into production, but Depp's first half of 2011 will be taken up with Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" which he recently signed on to and of course, promoting the fourth "Pirates Of The Caribbean" when it his theaters in the spring. We don't presume Disney will want this project to sit idle so don't be surprised if it gears up for a second half 2011 shoot.
As for who will play the Lone Ranger, as you can see by our image above, it was once rumored — very early on — to be George Clooney. But don't expect that to happen, so let the casting rumors begin. We'll kick things off by saying Jon Hamm because whenever you need a squared jawed dude, his name seems to get mentioned. And oh yeah, Jerry Bruckheimer is producing, hence his bearded mug up there as well.