By Eric Eisenberg
The actor recently spoke with EW about the upcoming film, which will be directed by longtime collaborator Gore Verbinski, and one of the biggest draws of the project to him is it's treatment of Native American characters. Depp, who is part Cherokee and will be playing Tonto in the movie, recognizes the horrible on-screen representation of Native Americans in film history and sees this project as a way of repairing that image.
“It’s a real opportunity for me to give a salute to them. Tonto was a sidekick in all the Lone Ranger series. [This film] is a very different approach to that partnership. And a funny one I think.”
A better way to repair the image of Natives in film, and to salute Depp's Native heritage, would be to cast an actual Native to play Tonto. Then people would learn that Natives still exist, they can act, and they can carry potential blockbuster films. They won't learn any of that with Depp taking the Native role.
For more on the subject, see Depp Goes Native for Tonto and Sppoky Stuff in Depp's Lone Ranger.