By Matt Zoller Seitz
Press Play Contributors
Apparently Disney has given Rango and Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and his star, Johnny Depp, a greenlight to shoot a new feature film version of The Lone Ranger, budgeted at $215 million. That might seem an exorbitant price tag for a concept that ran for years on TV in the 1950s, despite Ed Wood-level production values. But it’s a reduced price compared to what Verbinski originally envisioned; Disney pulled the plug on the project a couple of months ago because its initial price tag, $250 million, was deemed too high.
Where is the money going, you ask? Well, originally it was going to pay for all the werewolves.
Yes, werewolves. The Lone Ranger and Tonto were going to fight werewolves.
When Disney spiked the project, citing worries about recouping its massive cost, there was an online outcry about how mind-bogglingly inappropriate it was to add frickin’ werewolves to the Lone Ranger myth, Verbinski and Depp agreed to salary cuts and went back to the drawing board, and supposedly the new film won’t have any werewolves.
But it will, apparently, have $215 million worth of production values.
My question is: Why?
You can read the rest of Matt’s piece here at Salon.
A critic, journalist and filmmaker, Matt Zoller Seitz is the staff TV columnist for Salon.com and the founder of Press Play.