In preparation for his title role in Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” Armie Hammer (“Mirror, Mirror,” “The Social Network”) went to “Cowboy Boot Camp” with his co-stars, and learned how to rope and ride, fire guns and do many of the wild stunts you will see on-screen. “Cowboy Boot Camp is basically all the actors running around like six-year-old boys,” Hammer says.
But before going to horse school, Armie spent some quality time buddying up with Johnny Depp, who plays The Lone Ranger’s on-screen sidekick, Tonto. “We met up several times before we ever started shooting,” Armie tells Zap2it of Depp. “We got together for dinners and got to know each other.”
Whatever the guys bonded over at dinner translates to undeniable on-screen chemistry between the two. When asked if there was a real bromance behind-the-scenes, Armie confirms. “We had a lot of fun on the set,” he says. “There was always a joke being played.”
The on-set humor translates naturally to the silver screen, as the adventure film skillfully straddles the line between lighthearted and cornball. “Gore Verbinski had a very clear vision for the tone of this film,” says Hammer of the veteran director. “There were definitely moments when he said, ‘We could do this bigger,’ and then times when he would say, ‘No, let’s pull it back.'”
Early reviews of the movie seem to indicate critics left their senses of humor at home, but there is certainly no indication that will translate to the box office when the film opens. And Hammer says he feels no pressure to ensure “The Lone Ranger” is the next “Iron Man,” rather than the next “John Carter.”
“Gore and [producer] Jerry [Bruckheimer] have done this before,” Armie says, referring to the pair’s highly successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula. “They are so great at doing this very thing, and they knew going in they could do this well.”
For his part, Verbinski says bringing back the “lost art” of the Western instilled a great respect in him for the actors and the crew. “Guys had to learn how to fall off horses … while cameras are rolling,” says Verbinski. As for comparisons to his animated Western, 2011’s “Rango,” the veteran director says, “I just think we did it backwards. … This was the movie that the other one is making fun of. This is the real thing.”
As Disney likes to say, “The Lone Ranger” rides into theaters July 3. In the meantime, you can check out a behind-the-scenes featurette, or watch the trailer below: