Johnny Depp Explains Tonto’s Makeup in The Lone Ranger

Captain Jack Sparrow reveals the origins of Tonto's unexpected look, right down to the bird on his head.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

 

Back in March, when we had our first look at Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in character as The Lone Ranger and Tonto, we all pretty much had the same reaction to Depp's makeup and hat choices: "Well, that's different." (Or some variation thereof.) But that's common to his oeuvre, isn't it? The cartoonishly cowardly Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow, and (as hard as it is to believe now) the spacy Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were both bold, even dangerous choices for characters in mainstream blockbusters. But he has a rationale for them, and now we know the basis for his unexpected look in The Lone Ranger: "I Am Crow," a painting by Kirby Sattler.

(See more at kirbysattler.com)

In an exclusive talk with Entertainment Weekly, Depp described his inspiration thusly: "I’d actually seen a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler, and looked at the face of this warrior and thought: That’s it. […] The stripes down the face and across the eyes… it seemed to me like you could almost see the separate sections of the individual, if you know what I mean."

And that bird? Well, it's almost an accident: "It just so happened Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top. […] I thought: Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive."

Dear God, we don't ask for much here at CraveOnline, and since post-production 3D is still around and David Cronenberg isn't making the Hunger Games sequel we know you're probably not listening, but please… Let the bird on Johnny Depp's head talk. Preferably with the voice of Keith David, but we're perfectly willing to settle for that guy who impersonated Mako on the last season of "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

CraveOnline will be back with more Lone Ranger news after we get our naked pictures of Bea Arthur. (Too obscure?)