Johnny Depp as Tonto Talks to a Horse in Second 'Lone Ranger' Trailer

ICTMN Staff
12/11/12

The second trailer for the upcoming movie version of The Lone Ranger has been posted to Disney UK's YouTube page, and it's bound to provoke a few reactions in Indian country.

Johnny Depp, who plays Tonto, has talked a good game about delivering a more well-rounded version of his character, known to those familiar with the story as a one-dimensional sidekick. But many Indians who saw the first trailer were disappointed to hear Tonto speaking in the stereotypical Hollywood Indian-ese. This time around, Tonto speaks to Silver, the Lone Ranger's horse.

There are moments of humor in the trailer, which is in keeping with descriptions of the film as not a typical western but instead an action-comedy buddy movie. Moreover, the roles are reversed to some extent, so that the Lone Ranger (played by Armie Hammer) is more dependent on Tonto for his survival, a touch that is also reflected in the trailer.

So while the trailer gives us more of an idea of the tenor of the film, it does raise some issues. Combining humor and cultural heritage can be risky business, particularly when it's not your own culture. (Depp claims some Native heritage, which may be true, and he was adopted into the Comanche Nation, but he would hardly claim to have lived his life as an Indian.) Are the jokes funny because they're good jokes, or are they funny because non-Indians think Indians are funny? Will the audience be laughing at the clever writing and skillful acting -- or just laughing at Indians?

That remains to be seen. For now, all we have are two trailers, and this is the second one: 

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
SOOOOO THERE IS A WHOLE NATION OF AWESOME NATIVE ACTRESSES AND ACTORS AND THEY DIDN'T USE A NATIVE. TIMES HAVEN'T CHANGED AT ALL ITS NOT LIKE THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF US YOU GUYS MAY THINK SO BUT NOT TRUE FVCK HOLLYWOOD THEY HAVE BEEN USING FAKE ASS INDIANS FOR YEARS

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
I think when the author of this article says that Depp "would hardly have claimed to have lived life as an Indian," then they are the ones stereotyping. Is someone of Native heritage not supposed to live life as a succesful actor. I understand the concern over a Tonto movie, but it's Depp give it a chance. Hell, it looks really fun. There are bigger concerns out there.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
I don't think it is offensive...so many elders I know are humorous storytellers that is their way...I think they would laugh

MyLadyK's picture
MyLadyK
Submitted by MyLadyK on
Let's face the facts, shall we? This is far from being a perfect world, but let us give credit where it is due. Mr. Depp and company of "The Lone Ranger" have obviously given the situation a great deal of thought. Johnny Depp never does anything half way, he gives every project his full attention. How many actors/production companies have even stopped to give our oppions any consideration at all? Consider the most recent violations of our cultures, all chalked up to "entertainment"! "The Lone Ranger" seems to be giving it an honest try. Let's allow them that and wait until we actually see the film to pass judgement.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Okay, I'm not Native, but I thought the joke in the trailer is that Tonto is so much smarter than the soon-to-be Lone Ranger. Not just a little smarter, alot smarter. I could be argued that this is the Noble Savage steriotype, but if the rest of the film is like this, I don't think non-Natives will be laughing at Indians, though they might be reacting to that other steriotype. However, I do have to ask, why is Tonto wearing a bird on his head?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
I am not Indian. I do have great respect for Indian culture. Johnny Depp is funny,so people will laugh but I believe more and more people respect the Indian people.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
the way i see it is if you look at the way some mexican and otheres from other countries speak english,it just doesn't sound right,the words come slow,broken.it is the material he has to work with.i watched the old lone ranger series. talking to silver was what saved the ranger many times.these days natives have mostly grown up aroun english all their lives,gotta face that times have changed very much for our people.this is a protrayal of many years ago.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
I was laughing at Johnny Depp for being Johnny Depp, he has the same persona in most of his roles (Like in "Pirates of the Caribbean"). He's not trying to make fun of the Native people, he's only being himself.

tmsyr11's picture
tmsyr11
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
$25,000 'donation' is laughable in what Depp gave to the Navajo Nation. Yet the movie COULD gross MILLIONs in attendance and revenue from DVDs, etc. Come on Depp, can you spare a few more dollars - "skool" isn't cheap....

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
For all you Indians defending this, It's called "red face" what Johnny Depp is wearing and it is no different to "black face". A phenomenon in cinema that was outlawed many decades ago (not counting the technological post-modern Tropic of Thunder debacle). Not only that, Johnny has made a recent career of playing mythological characters, and it saddens me that Indians, in todays culture, are being lumped in by "Pirates". This is so offensive on so many levels to me, and I'm not even an Indian. Native warriors (activists): STAND UP AGAINST DISNEY'S BIGOTRY! NOW IS THE TIME!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
For all you Indians defending this, what Johnny Depp is wearing is called "red face" and it's no different than "black face". It's a trope in american cinema that was outlawed many decades ago (not counting the Robert Downey's technological Tropic of Thunder black face). Not only that, Johnny has made a recent career of playing mythological or fantastical characters, and it saddens me that Indians, in todays culture, are being lumped in with "Pirates" and the like. This is so offensive on so many levels, and I'm not even an Indian. Native warriors (activists): STAND UP AGAINST DISNEY'S BIGOTRY! NOW IS THE TIME!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
I don't think people understand that Johnny Depp is making fun of the stereotypes of Native peoples and he is part Cherokee so yes he is Native and it's great that he recognizes it and has tried helping Native peoples. I don't see many other famous people donating anything to reservations so at least he's making an effort to help. It's called irony. This film is supposed to be mocking the initial purpose of the old western films of Hollywood. They are using it as a big F U. He is mocking the way Hollywood has treated Native American cultures. He's making fun of the way they have been mis- represented all this time.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
wow. this is seriously dissapointing to see that everyone is still okay with native american stereotypes. the 'hollywood indian' is such a slap in the face to native americans as a whole. i don't care if some lady adopted him into a tribe he claims to be. if you read behind the scenes when they adopted him it sounds really sketchy on the people who actually adopted him and their reasons for doing so. our ancestors didn't go through all the hard times for them to be depicted as a punchline, mascots, or a character for some lame ass insensitive movie. go ahead and say there other worse things out there but for some of us it's who we are as a people.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
im chickasaw native and it ofends me they needed to make a serious role for the movie not comedy and redface is right our accent isnt like that...come on jay silver hills would not like it he said he was forced to speak that way. times should have changed by now

Tired  Of It's picture
Tired Of It
Submitted by Tired Of It on
Stop complaining about stereotypes. I'm sick of the whining. Most of you that make comments about how he hasn't lived as a Native American ...aren't even educated enough about your own culture and don't live as a Native American yourselves. Having the blood in your veins and dark skin doesn't mean anything if you're not involved in or knowledgeable about your own heritage. I'm tired of hearing about how he's supposed to speak. It's a Native American in the 1800s, you jackasses. Do you think he's going to sound like he just graduated from Yale? Get over yourselves. I may only be part Native American but my grandmother was born and grew up on a reservation and so I was constantly learning about that part of her life. If you're driving a Hybrid, eating sushi, and shopping at Old Navy ...you cant bitch about someone in "red face" and how insulted you are.

Anonymous Girl's picture
Anonymous Girl
Submitted by Anonymous Girl on
I am very disappointed they picked Johnny Depp as Tonto, first off I think he is too old for the role and it would have been nice to pick a native actor since there are so many wonderful actors out there like Adam Beach, The Spears Brothers and Chaske Spencer or Rick Mora! Ugh! I am disgusted for Disney for doing such a thing, truly I am!
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