Look, it’s not as if Johnny Depp needs a reason — much less our approval — for sporting an intensely designed, ostentatious look in a blockbuster. However, it turns out there’s a very specific origin fo his Lone Ranger get-up, which he explained to EW.

“I’d actually seen a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler, and looked at the face of this warrior and thought: That’s it… The stripes down the face and across the eyes … it seemed to me like you could almost see the separate sections of the individual, if you know what I mean… There’s this very wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain, these slivers of the individual… It just so happened Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top. I thought: Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.”

Which is all perfectly reasonable and creative and artistic- and it seems to be with the painter’s full approval. His site will certainly be pulling some traffic today, and it boasts of inspiring the film’s character on the front page.

The EW piece also astutely notes the divided reactions among Native American advocates and experts, who seem conflicted by what will likely be a respectful performance geared to subvert stereotypes that is still pushing an obvious image of a people that don’t get nearly enough exposure as a complex and modern group living very much in the present.

In any event, the film hits on May 13th of next year, and I’m sure will be accompanied by a much louder conversation on this topic. What are your thoughts? Dump ‘em in the comments below!

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