Is Johnny Depp's Lone Ranger racist... again?
Western movies, despite their popularity, were often criticised for their representation of Native Americans, especially considering the side the audience is on when watching the films. Modern Westerns have to be extremely careful to be sensitive around issues of race, something Lone Ranger star Johnny Depp is acutely aware of.
"It was something I felt a pretty intense passion for, for a long time," Depp told MTV News. "Just taking into consideration the way that Native Americans have been portrayed in old-school TV series as sidekicks or savages. I just thought it was a way to flip it completely on its head and an opportunity to send great respect and thanks to the Native Americans for all they've lived through and went through in their existence,” he added. “I guess it was to portray the Native American with the integrity and dignity that they deserve."
Watch some of the 1952 Lone Ranger, and check out pictures here.
He’s saying all the right things, but that hasn’t stopped people considering his character to be racist. White American actor John Todd first played Tonto in the 1930s. He was then portrayed by the Native Canadian actor Jay Silverheels – both of which were condemned for a stereotypical representation of the Native American people, and the fear is that Depp’s Tonto – with his face paint and nomadic aesthetic – will stir up a similar controversy.
Watch the Lone Ranger trailer:
The early reviews have really taken issue with Lone Ranger, but not because of any problems with racism, because it’s just quite bad. “It's a 2 1/2-hour slog, with tonal inconsistencies and monotonous, drawn-out action sequences. Scenes alternate between frenetic and tedious,” say USA Today. 16% on Rotten Tomatoes – need we say more?
Johnny Depp in Hollywood