Starting tomorrow, you can see Johnny Depp playing a Native American man in a movie that is said to have cost $250 million. Casting across race is by no means a new concept—you can read about some of the worst examples over at Next Movie—but rarely is it seen on this scale.
When we spoke with Depp at the junket for “The Lone Ranger,” he talked about playing Tonto with a respect to the culture that isn’t seen that often in pop culture.
“It was something I felt a pretty intense passion for, for a long time. Just taking into consideration the way that Native Americans have been portrayed in old-school TV series as sidekicks or savages,” Depp said. “I just thought it was a way to flip it completely on its head and an opportunity to send great respect and thanks to the Native Americans for all they’ve lived through and went through in their existence. I guess it was to portray the Native American with the integrity and dignity that they deserve.”
But even if Depp approaches the role with reverence, can anyone play a character of a race other than his own without causing offense? We want to know what you think.
“The Lone Ranger” opens in theaters on July 3.