On the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp’s Tonto 

Many of you have probably already seen what Johnny Depp’s going to look like in the big screen version of The Lone Ranger, which hits theaters May 13, 2013. 

You knew that when Johnny agreed to play Tonto it wouldn’t be anywhere near traditional, and he definitely looks out there, more like The Crow than any Tonto we’ve ever previously seen. (In fact, Depp’s even got a black crow perched on top of his head).

Depp was clearly channeling Keith Richards with Pirates of the Caribbean, there was speculation he was imitating Michael Jackson for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and as Entertainment Weeklyreports, there’s a theory his Tonto may be a take off on Marilyn Manson.

But Depp explains the look came from a painting by Kirby Sattler, “I Am Crow,” picturing a Native American with several crows flying right behind him.


One crow was flying right behind the Indian’s head, and it looked like it was sitting on top of his head, hence Depp putting the crow ontop of his own noggin’. 

As for the black and white make-up, Depp felt the stripes down his face showed the different facets of the Indian’s personality on his face.

“There’s this very wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain. That makeup inspired me.”


The crow on Depp’s head is also going to serve as a compass or guide for his spirit. It may be a dead bird to everyone else, “but it’s not dead to him,” Depp continues. “It’s very much alive.”

Clearly, Tonto’s won’t just be The Lone Ranger’s sidekick, and it’s good that Depp’s back with director Gore Verbinski, who let him find his inner pirate for Caribbean, even when former Disney head Michael Eisner hated the character. 

Of course, Jack Sparrow really elevated Pirates into something special, so here’s hoping Depp does similar character magic with Tonto and the Lone Ranger.