Disney Stops “The Lone Ranger” Production

The Lone Ranger” and his trusted sidekick Tonto will not be riding to a theater near you as scheduled.

Deadline reported that Disney has stopped production of “The Lone Ranger” due to a still undisclosed reason. The movie was originally scheduled for a December 21, 2012 release. Johnny Depp has already signed up to play Tonto, while Armie Hammer of “The Social Network” has been given the title role. Director Gore Verbinski is supposed to take the helm, with Jerry Bruckheimer as producer and “Revolutionary Road’s” Justin Haythe as screenwriter.

Disney has yet to issue an official statement regarding the halting of the presumably big-budget Western. Reports, however, claim that the more than $200-million possible production cost might be the main reason for Disney’s decision to backtrack. The news was unexpected, considering that the team of Depp, Verbinski, and Bruckheimer has helped channel billions of dollars to Disney through the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series. Depp’s star power has also given Disney a billion-dollar grosser in last year’s “Alice in Wonderland.”