First Footage of Johnny Depp’s Tonto Shown at San Diego Comic-Con
For American Indians, the fact that Depp is portraying a Native American in such a major movie has been a topic of fascination and much debate. From the reports out of SDCC, it seems, the footage will likely add fuel to the fire for those who aren’t happy with the situation. Depp reportedly had one line in the clip:
“There come a time, Kemosabe … when good man must wear mask.”
There has been much talk of a more sensitive and complex portrayal of Tonto; apparently, though, Tonto will speak in the same, well, Tonto-speak of all his previous incarnations.
For an on-the-scene reaction, there may be none better than that of Screencrush.com‘s Jordan Hoffman, who tweeted: “I dunno, Johnny Depp’s kinda Uncle Tomahawking it up with LONE RANGER”
On Facebook, someone justified the Tonto-talk this way:
"Canon freaks," if there are any, will freak out over the fact that Tonto is the senior partner, he's got weird paint on his face, and a frakkin' bird on his head. His speech is the least of the problems.
The point of doing a remake is to update the things that didn't work. Making Tonto a full partner of the Ranger, good. Having a non-Native play him, bad. Giving him some sort of background, good. Having him speak like an ignorant savage, bad. Etc.
This one line may be an exception--perhaps spoken that way intentionally to mislead fans and stir up controversy. But note what this tells us about Depp's sensibilities. The Tonto talk is an unmistakable insult to Indians...but Depp doesn't care. He's willing to leave us with a first impression--an impression that may last months--of Tonto as an ignorant savage.
Designing a costume based on a white man's fantasy painting and speaking in broken English are all part of the package. For Depp, clearly, The Lone Ranger is about making money for himself, not about honoring Indians.
Movie headed for a flop?
Someone else who saw the trailer calls The Lone Ranger a loser:
The Biggest Winners and Losers of Comic Con 2012!
By Charlie Jane Anders