Gore Verbinski to direct ‘Lone Ranger’

Disney adaptation has Johnny Depp attached; Bruckheimer producing

The masked man of the Old West may be galloping to the bigscreen soon as Disney has signed Gore Verbinski to direct “The Lone Ranger.”

Jerry Bruckheimer is producing and Johnny Depp is attached to play Tonto. The Mouse House hasn’t yet locked in an actor to portray the Lone Ranger.

Project reunites Verbinski with Disney, Bruckheimer and Depp after he helmed the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” pics, converting the theme park ride into one of the top franchises of all time.

“The Lone Ranger” premiered on radio in 1933, leading to nearly 3,000 radio shows, while the TV series with Clayton Moore ran for five seasons beginning in 1949 — all with the Lone Ranger invariably shouting “Hi-ho, Silver, away!” as his horse galloped off to the strains of the William Tell Overture. In 2003, the WB attempted a series reboot with a backdoor pilot starring Chad Michael Murray. The Lone Ranger’s bigscreen life began in the late 1930s and includes 1981’s “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” with Klinton Spilsbury.

Verbinski recently worked with Depp on the toon “Rango,” which Paramount opens domestically March 4. Par’s Nick Films and GK Films produced that toon.

Verbinski is repped by CAA.

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