Will a western work? That’s the question with Disney’s The Lone Ranger, which arrives this summer as the most expensive cowboy film in history. The trio behind the film – producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp – are accustomed to genre skepticism, they heard the chorus of doubters when they salvaged the swashbuckler genre from the briny depths with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Jane Eyre (2006) star and Anna Karenina costar Ruth Wilson, who portrays Rebecca Reid in the film (as shown in the exclusive first-look poster above), says that Verbinski is a wild-card filmmaker up to the task of reviving a classic that seems dusty in all the wrong ways.
“In my mind Gore is a genius,” Wilson said. “There’s nothing cynical about him, he’s makes these massive commercial movies as if they were his most personal. His energy and passion is unwavering and you can see it all over the screen.”
Asked about the intensity of a desert shoot and demands of a high-intensity adventure, Wilson said she was ready to saddle up.
“I come from a theatre background so I was really excited about the physical aspect of the role,” the Brit said. “It’s not often you get to throw yourself off a fully functioning steam train. The character of Rebecca is also really strong, an independent woman struggling with a [male-]dominated world.”
Verbinski won an Oscar for his last film, Rango, which put Depp in an Old West as a cartoon lizard. Does that make The Lone Ranger less of a genre gamble? Wilson said the real question is why Westerns went away in the first place. ”Westerns were epic, they worked because they had big characters, big landscapes, big stakes,” Wilson said. “This has all those but in some ways transcends the genre. You won’t have seen anything like it.”