No deal yet; thesp would star opposite Johnny Depp in Disney pic

Armie Hammer is the front-runner to saddle up as the Lone Ranger in Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer’s bigscreen adaptation of the TV series.

Best known for his role as the Winklevoss twins in Sony’s “The Social Network,” Hammer has begun early negotiations for the role, which would pair him up alongside Johnny Depp, set to play crime-fighting sidekick Tonto. Hammer was recently cast as a prince in Relativity Media’s Snow White adaptation.

Depp will next shoot “Dark Shadows” for Warner Bros. after making the promotional rounds to tubthump “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

Gore Verbinski would helm from a script by Justin Haythe.

Long in development, Bruckheimer and the Mouse House are eager to get the pic off the ground sometime this year to bow sometime in fall 2012, but scheduling would have to fit in with Depp’s dance card, which has been filling up with a number of high-profile projects.

Hammer recently wrapped WB and Imagine Entertainment’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic, opposite Leonardo di Caprio.

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