William Fichtner plays Tonto and John Reid’s ruthless nemesis, Butch Cavendish, in Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” in theaters now. Apart from getting to work with Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski — whom Fichtner calls “a master story teller” — this professional bad guy tells Zap2it there was something else that drew him to the creepy role.
Having grown up watching westerns, Fichtner says he was instantly attracted to the villain dynamic. “There’s always going to be that guy that they’re at odds with,” he says. “And in this movie, it’s Butch Cavendish and his gang. And I found everything about that pretty enticing. … I like to figure out who a guy is, and a character, but … I just thought that was really an exciting piece of the puzzle in the telling of this story.” But it’s not just the special brand of Cavendish cruelty Fichtner was attracted to.
“I don’t base parts, or how I’m going to play something, on the fact of like, ‘Huh, how am I going to be meaner in this line than I was in the line before?’ I’m not sure how you do that,” says Fichtner. “What I am interested in is finding out: ‘Who’s Cavendish? What makes him tick?’ Because the payoff I think is not only for me in the playing of it, it’s for an audience and watching it. If somebody’s mean for the sake of being mean, what do you do with that? But when [the characters] feel like they have a point of view that may not be yours, but that’s really twisted … that’s interesting.”
Watching “The Lone Ranger,” the veteran actor is nearly unrecognizable as Butch, and Fichtner calls the hair and two to three-hour makeup process for his character “a lesson in patience.” He also describes some pretty remarkable skills he picked up at “Cowboy Boot Camp” before production got underway.
“I will tell you one thing: I hopped off that horse from that train, going 20 miles an hour on to an empty saddle on a horse that was at a full-blown gallup,” Fichtner says. “Let’s face it; this is a Jerry Bruckheimer production. It is amazing production values and the truth about it is, it’s about getting it right. And I’ve worked on films with Jerry before, on ‘Black Hawk Down’ and ‘Armageddon,’ and believe me: the training that we had, you couldn’t have asked for better. And it was no different working on ‘Lone Ranger.'”
Following “The Lone Ranger,” Fichtner stars opposite Matt Damon in the sci-fi action film, Elysium. In 2014, he will debut as The Shredder in Michael Bay‘s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Now, seriously: Do you recognize the guy in the tie above in this image from “The Lone Ranger?”