Johnny Depp wants 'The Lone Ranger' to back off Tonto: 'Why is the f–––ing Lone Ranger telling Tonto what to do?'
By Anthony Breznican
Tonto’s treatment especially bugged him because Depp had always been told his family was part Indian. “I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line,” he says. “My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.”
How many apologists have said he should get the role because he's definitely an Indian? Now his 1/8 Cherokee blood sounds like an overstatement. He may be only 1/16 or less Indian.
Depp's deep thinking
So Depp wants to transform "some of the ugliness thrown on the Native Americans" in movies. You know, by white actors playing phony Indians in redface. And how will he accomplish this? As a white actor, he'll play a phony Indian in redface.
I love how Depp talks as if he discovered something new about Tonto. As if no one else has had this thought before. As if only he could transform Tonto into a critique of our stereotypical thinking.
Actually, Natives probably have been criticizing and reimagining Tonto since the 1960s and '70s, if not before. And non-Natives too, since it's patently obvious. I doubt anyone has envisioned Tonto as a pure sidekick since Jay Silverheels played the role.
Depp's arrogance is annoying--to me, at least. If he really cared about Native portrayals in Hollywood, he'd step aside and give the role to a Native actor. If he felt he had a unique vision for Tonto, he could write the role for a Native actor. What we don't need is another white man playing an Indian in a wig and makeup.
For more on the subject, see Depp's "Dilemma" Over Playing Mexican and Johnny Depp's Track Record.