The Lone Ranger and Tonto: their names are synonymous for "best buds." Even if you've never seen an episode of the old TV show, you know the man in the mask and his Native American companion are inseparable friends. But that wasn't always the case.
You can see that it was literally a shaky start for the pair in this exclusive look at the first official clip from "The Lone Ranger," Disney's summer blockbuster that looks to bring "Pirates of the Caribbean"-style spectacle to the Wild West. Indeed, director Gore Verbinski's knack for vaudevillian and almost slapstick-ish action scenes that require a trained dancer's (or stuntman's) precision to pull off is most definitely on display in this scene.
The sequence takes place early on in "The Lone Ranger," before John Reid (Armie Hammer) dances with death and embraces his fate as a masked rider for justice. Reid and his future partner Tonto (Johnny Depp) are chained together, which makes for some elaborate physical comedy as they make their way across the top of the speeding locomotive (that's rushing toward the end of the line!) and take on a couple members of the gang of the villainous Butch Cavendish (an off-screen William Fichtner), who, like Tonto, was being held prisoner on the train.
Watch the exclusive clip from 'The Lone Ranger':
In true "Pirates"/Verbinski style, the action is hair-raising even though there's never any true sense of real danger as Hammer raises his arms comically when confronted by some pistol-wielding thug who hesitates just long enough to allow our heroes to escape via some conveniently-placed overhanging hook. Depp, if you remember, also went flying while manacled during his sword fight with Orlando Bloom in the very first "Pirates" movie ten years ago.
As with most of the action sequences in the "Pirates" films, this early scene in "The Lone Ranger" plays out like an extended (and considerably more expensive) Three Stooges routine, where the bad guys do a complete forward flip when tripped and exclaim "Shut up!" with a bit too much B-movie gusto as Johnny Depp maintains exquisite comic timing (and perfect balance) even in the most chaotic of situations. But we also see that Tonto is more sure-footed and goal-oriented than Captain Jack Sparrow ever was. Depp told Rolling Stone, "I wanted him to be no joke... I wouldn't [expletive] with someone with a dead bird on their head."
One thing's for sure: If this look at the first act of "The Lone Ranger" is but a taste of what's to come once Reid actually puts on his mask and the story really gets cooking, then we're in for what might be Disney's biggest, most action-packed show to date. And that's certainly saying something, Mouseketeers.
"The Lone Ranger" opens July 3.