Frankly I am a bit torn on this one:
The Hollywood image of Tonto once had the Lone Ranger’s sidekick wearing a thin headband and lots of dangling fringes. The latest Disney version has a shirtless Johnny Depp adorned with feathers, a face painted white with black stripes, and a stuffed crow on his head.
The character in the upcoming “The Lone Ranger” still speaks broken English and chants prayers. But Depp has said he’s less subservient, honors the proud American Indian warrior and displays a dry sense of humor seen throughout Indian Country. The production even hired a Comanche adviser, making it decidedly a Comanche story, and received the blessing of other tribes through ceremonies during filming.
Yet Disney has caught flak for what some say is the perpetuation of stereotypes through a character that lacks any real cultural traits. Moviegoers will have to wait until July 3 to see how all this plays out on screen. For now, they’re getting a glimpse through movie trailers that have left them both optimistic and angry, and wondering to what extent the new Tonto portrays actual American Indians.
I know Depp has some distant Native American blood in him, but of course, I can’t help but wish there was a full Native American they could have cast in the role of Tonto. And I did see a trailer for the movie the other day and it does make me cringe a bit hearing Depp speak in that broken English, presumably in the way they think a Native American would speak. But I also get how Hollywood works and without Depp the movie likely would not have been made.
But couldn’t he have played the Lone Ranger instead? Still trying to decide if I want to see this one. Here is a link to the full article which includes a trailer.