Stars of 'The Lone Ranger', Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, have ancestry which links them to two American activists including a slave who gained her freedom by using the law and a Cherokee peace advocate.
Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer have close connections to the characters they play in the Disney's The Lone Ranger. Research by Ancestry.com has revealed the stars are both separately descended from two American freedom fighters: one an African American woman and the other a Cherokee leader.
Johnny Depp stars in the Jerry Bruckheimer re-make as Tonto a Native American who aids the Lone Ranger, played by Armie Hammer. A typical 'Cowboys and Indians' adaptation with just enough Pirates of the Caribbean swash buckling as can possibly be crammed into the mid-west.
Armie Hammer at the L.A. Premiere of The Lone Ranger
Yet the characters the two men play are closer to them than they could have imagined. Ancestry.com has done research into the backgrounds of the two actors. Armie Hammer is, apparently, descended from a Native American chief, Cherokee leader and peace advocate Chief Kangatucko. Whilst Depp's ancestor is Elizabeth Key who was the first African American women to be granted her freedom after a legal battle.
Johnny Depp at the L.A. premiere of The Lone Ranger
Depp also has Cherokee or Creek Indian ancestry, one of the reasons why he chose to play Tonto in The Lone Ranger. When interviewed by Entertainment Weekly he could not sure but he strongly suspected he has "some Native American somewhere down the line". He goes on to say "My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek."
Speaking on behalf of Ancestry.com, the website which has conducted the research into Hammer and Depp's past, Michelle Ercanbrack said "It's unique to discover that not one, but both of the stars of 'The Lone Ranger' have proven ties to historical figures who shaped American freedom struggles over the years. I imagine their eighth great-grandparents would approve."
The Lone Ranger is out in the US 3rd July, whilst UK audiences will have to wait until 9th August.
Helena Bonham Carter stars alongside Depp and Hammer as Red Harrington