Disneyland has proven that it knows how to put on a party full of spectacle with its premieres for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. On Saturday night its neighbor theme park, Disney California Adventure, hosted its first movie premiere when The Lone Ranger debuted in the Anaheim park’s Hyperion Theater.
The House of Mouse pulled out all the stops for the big event, which featured a 1,500-foot-long red carpet stretching from the entrance of the park to the theater. Costumed characters like Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto were also present, as was the horse who plays Silver in the film. Ahead of the celebrity arrivals, jugglers on stilts entertained the crowd, and park employees passed out black masks like the Lone Ranger’s to fans and press.
The Lone Ranger brings to the big screen beloved characters from the 1949-1957 Lone Ranger TV series, which in turn was adapted from a 1933 radio show. Armie Hammer plays the title character, and Johnny Depp took on the role of his Native American companion Tonto. Pirates of the Caribbean masterminds Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer helmed the project as director and producer, respectively.
At Saturday’s event, 12-year-old Mason Cook, who appears in the film as a child in 1930s San Francisco learning of the Lone Ranger and Tonto’s story, told EW, “It’s probably the most energetic and fun and organized red carpet I’ve ever been on. I wish every red carpet was like this. I wish I could hit a rewind button and start all over and then come all the way back down and then start over and come all the way back down. It’s really fun.”
Hammer was a bit more quick to admit that as the film’s star, the premiere was no walk in the park: “It’s a long red carpet, a lot of work.” An estimated 3,000 fans flanked the carpet to watch the arrivals of the movie’s stars and other celebs. Both Hammer and Depp took a lot of time to sign autographs and take pictures with fans as they made their way to the theater.
The film is introducing many young viewers to The Lone Ranger, but of course it’s also a nostalgia trip for those who watched the original TV series. On the carpet, District 9 actor Sharlto Copley (who has become part of the Disney family with the upcoming Maleficent) recalled becoming captivated by the show at age 8 when reruns were on – though his parents forbid him from watching the shoot-‘em-up Western.
“The Lone Ranger was the first TV show that I tried to watch that I wasn’t allowed to watch,” Copley told EW at the premiere. “I actually recorded a Lone Ranger episode once on a tape, secretly without my parents knowing. I played the audio – it was an audio cassette tape – so I could hear what happened. We didn’t have a VHS machine at the time. So I listened to the whole Lone Ranger episode, and then the next day at school I could talk with my friends about what had happened as if I had watched.”
The adventures of Tonto and the Lone Ranger have made their way from radio to TV to film – could they also find their way into a theme park ride, as so many other Disney properties have? EW asked celebs on The Lone Ranger’s carpet to picture what that ride would look like. Though Hammer and Bruckheimer both told EW they’ll leave ride designing to Disney’s Imagineers, other attendees at the event supplied a few ideas. Read on for what actors like Teen Wolf’s Tyler Posey and Scandal’s Bellamy Young deem essential elements of a The Lone Ranger ride.
Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings): “I’d like a Lone Ranger ride where they give you fake guns, and on the ride you have to shoot stuff along the way. Having to knock off people’s hats and stuff like that.”
Avan Jogia (ABC Family’s Twisted): “One lone ranger. But just one. If you have more than one ranger on the ride, it doesn’t work.”
Bellamy Young (ABC’s Scandal): “Johnny Depp! He has to be somewhere on the ride! And I can’t wait to see the stunt with the horses [in the film]. That stunt boggles my mind. I don’t know how they’d do that on a ride – I don’t even know how they did it on the screen.”
James Badge Dale (Dan Reid in The Lone Ranger): “You gotta put my character’s mustache somewhere in there.”
Tyler Posey (MTV’s Teen Wolf): “I think instead of being in a car, it would be a horse. It could be like a merry-go-round. That sounds very dangerous though. We’ll strap you in with the mask, strap your head to a pole. Still sounds dangerous.”
Harry Treadaway (Frank in The Lone Ranger): “It’d have to have horses. You’d have to sit on a horse, but the horses would be able to fly because it’s Silver the horse. So flying horses – maybe a merry-go-round that takes off. I’ve always wanted to see that – if you start on a roundabout, but then it veers off randomly. You don’t know where it’s going. Just a wild horse ride, I suppose.”
Mason Cook (Will in The Lone Ranger), boasting plenty of deadpanning skill for a 12-year-old: “Well, it should have my face on the side. Me on the seats. A giant blimp that rides around above it that has my face on it. And then a little bitty thing that says The Lone Ranger.”
Damon Herriman (Ray in The Lone Ranger): “I was thinking about that today actually. I just went on that Cars Land ride, which was quite fun, and I was talking with my friends, going, ‘What would The Lone Ranger ride be?’ I think it would have to have horses. I don’t know how you could do a Lone Ranger ride and not have horses. So maybe if they could come up with some amazing animatronic horses that you sit on and ride at speed or something – it sounds very dangerous, actually, but if they could come up with a safe way of doing that, that could work. But there must be a way. It’s Disney.”
Disney’s The Lone Ranger also stars Helena Bonham Carter, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, and Ruth Wilson. The film opens Wednesday, July 3.
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