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Tom Wilkinson circles ‘Lone Ranger’

Thesp would join Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp in Disney's Western

Tom Wilkinson is in early talks to join the cast of Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Lone Ranger.”

The thesp would portray a railroad tycoon in the Old West who plays a prominent role in the Mouse House’s bigscreen pair-up of Armie Hammer, as the masked Texas Ranger, and his trusty sidekick, Tonto, to be played by Johnny Depp.

Gore Verbinski will helm the pic, which starts lensing this fall, skedded to bow Dec. 21, 2012.

Film reteams the director with Depp in dusty cowboy country after Paramount’s animated hit, “Rango.”

Wilkinson recently signed on to star opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the indie thriller “The Samaritan,” and Boris Damast’s “Vivaldi.” His recent credits also include Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator,” a cameo in “The Green Hornet,” and the Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis comedy “Burke and Hare.” He will next be seen in “The Debt.”

The “Lone Ranger” script was penned by “Pirates of the Caribbean”-franchise scribes Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and Justin Haythe (“Revolutionary Road”).

Film becomes Bruckheimer’s next tentpole after the fourth “Pirates” installment, which has hauled in $960 million in booty at the worldwide box office so far.

Production on “Lone Ranger” starts after Depp wraps up WB’s “Dark Shadows” adaptation and Hammer finishes Relativity Media’s “Snow White” comedy-fantasy, with Julia Roberts.

The Lone Ranger character was first introduced in a 1933 radio show, created by George W. Trendle and developed by Fran Strike, before turning into a TV series during the 1950s and spinning off into movies and comcbooks.

Wilkinson is repped by Lou Coulson Associates and Principal Entertainment.

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