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Hamptons Film Fest: Helena Bonham Carter Compares Reaction To 'The Lone Ranger' To 'Fight Club'

by Drew Taylor
October 13, 2013 10:08 AM
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The Lone Ranger, Helena Bonham Carter

One of the more infamous Hollywood stories this year was the inglorious demise of "The Lone Ranger," Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer's $200 million+ western that failed to connect with audiences and was outright scalped by critics (sorry, we couldn't resist). While chatting with "The Lone Ranger" costar Helena Bonham Carter at this year's Hamptons International Film Festival for her new biopic "Burton & Taylor," we couldn't help but bring up the response to the film and what she thought it's chances were of a life beyond this initial reception. Carter responded by comparing the film to another of her movies that was judged harshly upon release but blossomed lovingly into a bona-fide cult classic years later, David Fincher's "Fight Club."

When I brought up how much we enjoyed "The Lone Ranger"—because, truthfully, this writer found it a weird and wild western whose oddness struck a chord—she said that we were probably amongst a few who actually liked it. When I told her that Quentin Tarantino also loved it (placing it on his top ten list and defending it to press), she sighed and said, "Oh, I love Quentin," the back of her hair dangling in a loose connection of cabled dreadlocks.

Bonham Carter was part of the original cast, on board even before Disney shut down the project and reshuffled some aspects of it (a move that proved fruitless when production troubles and an elaborate train sequence shot the budget up towards the number Disney originally balked at). In the movie, she plays the owner of an Old West bordello whose leg was, prior to the movie's opening, amputated and eaten by a villainous character played by William Fichtner (and people wonder why it didn't connect).

She only had positive things to say about the movie's actual production. "I loved it and I loved Gore. It was one of the happiest times. They worked so hard on that thing." Of course, the actress was upset at the drubbing the film received upon its release. "I feel so appalled and sad that it was greeted with such positively negative reviews; it was actively negative reviews," she said. Bonham Carter noted that, at the very least, it connected with its intended audience: "I was working so I couldn't go promote it but I took my son later and he loved it."

Not that she is still stewing about it. In fact, she had experienced this kind of thing earlier in her career. "I've been in this situation before. With 'Fight Club,' everyone hated it. My mom actually said, 'Don't you worry, this is going to be around a lot longer.' And that was right after Columbine and it was just a bad time," she explained.

And in general, the reception of "The Lone Ranger" has left the actress quite baffled. "With 'Lone Ranger,' I'm not sure why it attracted such ire. There are some great things in that movie and it's fun. I think Johnny [Depp] gets taken for granted."

Still, she is optimistic about the movie's chances of gaining cult-classic status (much like "Fight Club"). "I hope it's going to be reappraised. Tim [Burton—her longtime partner] always talks about how a movie gets bad reviews and then we see it on the telly and the little description is a good review. It's like when did you reappraise this thing? It only came out six months ago and you shat on it."

We'll wait to see what the little description of "The Lone Ranger" is when it premieres on Starz next year (it's on DVD and Blu-ray in December). 

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  • Hailee | January 3, 2014 6:25 AMReply

    I feel like if people didnt like one specific little thing, they just labeled it as a bad movie. I feel like people picked it a part in an immature way, and missed the whole big picture. You cab have whatever opinion you want, and maybe im slightly biased, but I jist dont understand the hate of the movie.. it just doesnt make sense to me. I love this movie so much that I couldnt stop thinking about it for 2 weeks straight, and well, still havent. I watch it a lot analyzing it and always find hidden messages. Its truly a breathtaking movie to me.

  • Wuh?, | October 17, 2013 12:28 AMReply

    Fight club, this movie is nowhere near its league....
    Never read a review of this movie and went into it blind, except some nostalgia from the
    Older series and movies.
    This movie was terrible and just got worse as it went along.
    Hackneyed, corny , poorly written, and scenes that were forced together.
    I love weird movies and hate agree with the reviews (apparently) but as much as I wanted to like this it
    Became a chore to watch. After 3 failed attempts of finishing this film I'm up to 4th attempt
    And I still had to stop to see what others thought of this train wreck of a film.
    Love the leads but this movie was in the end just for the lack of a better word......stupid.

  • Mark | October 17, 2013 9:32 PM

    It's far more entertaining than Fight Club.

    To me, anyway.

    I just love The Lone Ranger film.

    Fully engaging and captivating from start to finish with a great script and one of the best endings I've ever seen in a movie.

  • Liz | October 16, 2013 4:11 AMReply

    We loved it. Could not figure out why it got such bad reveiws. The critics all just want to see the usual what I call "the movie" ..........I think some of the critics were trying to make it be the OLD television show. I used to watch that show with my Dad, and loved it..........but, this was a new experience and I loved it too. I will buy the DVD:)

  • Steve | October 15, 2013 9:43 PMReply

    I worked on the movie in the train dept. Seeing it in the theater molded all the scenes I worked on and created a great show. I visited my local movie franchise and set up a table with photos from the set, answered questions, and when the folks left, asked how they liked it. Of the hundred odd people in attendance, only two stated they did not enjoy it. Most LOVED it, just as I did. Disney dropped the ball on advertising. Minions were the dominant force on TV a month before both were released. Now for the extra kiss of death, the DVD is coming out too late for Christmas. Sad.

  • 3catshere | October 15, 2013 8:32 PMReply

    I loved the movie!

  • Lois | October 15, 2013 5:16 PMReply

    Oops JD. blasted spell check. Lol

  • Lois | October 15, 2013 5:15 PMReply

    I didn't get to see the movie. Johnny is my favorite actor. I think it came out at a bad time. The week of the Fourth of July is a big vacation time. That was where I was I was very sad I missed it. On my wish list to see when it comes out in DVD. It looked great in the previews, but again I am bias when it come to a flick with JP

  • Jordan | October 15, 2013 3:59 PMReply

    I really loved everything about this movie, the acting, the scenes, the story line. It's a little sad now a days that people are so quick to judge a movie and then throw negative reviews out there, why can't people just keep those things to themselves and let people have their own opinion on a movie. but I agree with her and I can't wait to own the movie and ya never know generations from now might absolutely love the movie.

  • James | October 15, 2013 2:43 PMReply

    I took my wife and son to see this movie - correction, I drug them kicking and screaming to see this movie. Neither of them wanted to watch it, they were rolling their eyes the entire way to the theater. When we came out at the end, they absolutely loved it. It was fun, funny, and when the theme started playing toward the final action scene, my son sat up right and had a big smile on his face. Now we're anxiously awaiting it on Blu Ray this December. Can't wait to watch it again!

  • Joy | October 15, 2013 2:12 PMReply

    I absolutely loved it, thought it was so much fun!

  • AHB | October 13, 2013 8:43 PMReply

    She's totally biased (understandably) as The Lone Ranger is a terrible movie.

  • Anya | October 13, 2013 7:03 PMReply

    I'm with Helena too - I went to see The Lone Ranger expecting it to be horrendous because of the reviews, articles here, etc, and although it was way too long I thought it was a lot of fun. I really liked it.

  • Yousef | October 13, 2013 4:51 PMReply

    Couldn't agree more with her.

  • alex703 | October 13, 2013 3:04 PMReply

    She's totally right.

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