Six Things You Didn’t Know About The Making Of ‘The Lone Ranger’

By Tara Fowler

For those of you who didn’t know, “The Lone Ranger” had a rough ride into theaters. Back in August 2011, the film was placed on hold due to budgetary concerns, prompting stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, as well as director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, to accept a 20 percent salary cut in order to see the movie made. Was it worth it? Only this weekend will tell. In the meantime, here are six facts you may not have known about the making of “The Lone Ranger”:

Depp was almost trampled by his horse: While shooting a scene in the movie, the actor slipped off his saddle and was dragged by his horse for almost 25 feet, suffering only minor bruises. Depp credits the horse with saving his life—as can be seen in the clip below, the horse instinctively jumped over Depp to avoid stepping on him.

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The film was originally rumored to feature werewolves: In fact, these werewolves were reportedly one of the reasons the film was put on hold in 2011—the cost of the wolves (among other CG effects) was simply too high. However, Verbinski has denied this rumor, claiming that no draft of the script featured werewolves of any kind. “I don’t know where this idea of werewolves came from,” he told The Playlist last year. “It’s never been in any draft I’ve worked on. But there’s a kind of Native American overlay of omens and other things happening that we don’t fully understand.”

This is the first movie to feature Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp: That wasn’t directed by Tim Burton. The two have previously appeared in five movies together: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Corpse Bride,” “Sweeney Todd,” ’Dark Shadows” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Depp’s costume was inspired by a painting: Specifically Kirby Sattler’s “I Am Crow.” “I’d actually seen a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler, and looked at the face of this warrior and thought: That’s it,” Depp told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. “The stripes down the face and across the eyes… It seemed to me like you could almost see the separate sections of the individual, if you know what I mean.” Oookay.

Verbinski first talked to Depp about playing Tonto while they were shooting “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”: But the director didn’t get around to starting on the project until 2010, when Depp sent him a photo of himself dressed up as the Native American sidekick. “I think he’s really struggled to keep it authentic, but also a very entertaining character,” Verbinski told The Hollywood Reporter of Depp’s performance.

Almost everything you see is real: Verbinski is notorious for hating visual effects, so while many of the film’s more impressive sequences may appear to be the work of a green screen, they’re not. “Gore doesn’t like to do it with the visual effects, so those guys are really on the train, the train is actually moving, it’s not a CG shot—so everything you see here is real,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer told CNN. “So it had to be built. You can’t imagine how many people it takes just to keep the train running; to get the stunt guys to keep the guys on top of the train; the rigging so they’re all safe and the amount of extras [to be] the people in the background; it’s just a lot.”

Will you be checking out “The Lone Ranger” this weekend?