Citing a "trusted source", Frosty at Collider is reporting that producer Jerry Bruckheimer has targeted The Lone Ranger for blockbuster reinvention; Frosty’s also insinuating that the Pirates of the Caribbean team – director Gore Verbinski and writers Ted Elliott & Terry "The Incinerator" Rossio – have been enlisted to give the vintage serial a hip, modern, sexy, dark, tumescent spin. This is news to me, but it’s backed up by Peter Gilstrap’s May 18th Variety profile of Elliott & Rossio, which plainly states, "Beyond another Pirates project, word has it that the scribes might be doing a take on the Lone Ranger saga for Bruckheimer."
Though I’ve come to hate their mechanical screenwriting, this is terra firma for Elliott and Rossio, who worked a minor miracle in 1998 by revitalizing another antiquated hero with The Mask of Zorro. And lest you think this is a wacky idea, this is actually the second time in the last three years that Hollywood has tried to revamp The Lone Ranger (producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher hired David and Janet Peoples to spruce up the masked cowboy back in 2004).
As for why these folks think The Lone Ranger is poised for a comeback, well, it’s the name brand, stupid: boomers grew up watching the serials on television, their kids grew up listening to them prattle on about watching the serials on television (which didn’t help the box office of 1981’s awful The Legend of the Lone Ranger), and the boomers’ kids’ kids are growing up listening to their parents bitch about listening to their parents prattle on about watching the serials on television. Yes, The Lone Ranger… enthralling one generation while aggravating the piss out of two others.
And, yet, what’s outmoded now can be made to look glossy and edgy and less racist with a little studio processing, and that’s where Elliott & Rossio come in. The first item of business will be the Ranger’s faithful sidekick, Tonto, a childhood friend who, in the most popular version of the story, helped the hero (a Texas Ranger known as Reid) fake his death after nearly being killed in an Indian ambush (obligatory Native American casino joke: the Rangers were winning big at Blackjack all night and never once tipped their dealer). Expect Elliott & Rossio to clean this up a bit – i.e. Tonto will be the survivor of a slaughter, with The Lone Ranger helping him track down the men responsible for his parents or wife’s or longtime companion’s death(s). Also, expect them to write in huge CG set pieces involving trains, stagecoaches, stampedes, Pecos Bill and zombified cattle – all at once.
I really could care less. All that matters is that they incorporate "The Lone Ranger Creed" to the very letter!
That to have a friend, a man must be one.
That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
That ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always.
That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
That sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
In my Creator, my country, my fellow man."
"That a man should make the most of what equipment he has." I don’t suppose Ava Gardner agreed with this particular commandment.