Hi-ho, silver! Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to meet your Lone Ranger — none other than "The Social Network" star Armie Hammer!
Hammer, who appeared in the Oscar-nominated picture as bitter Olympians and would-be entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, is finalizing his deal to star opposite Johnny Depp in Disney's revamp of "The Lone Ranger," reports Variety. He'll don the fictional gunslinger's iconic black mask and cowboy hat when production on the Gore Verbinski-directed flick gets underway this fall.
The road towards "The Lone Ranger" has been a long and strange one. Word first broke out about this new adaptation of the classic character in late 2008, when it was announced that Depp would headline the film, but not as the masked rider; instead, he'd be playing Tonto, the Ranger's Native American sidekick.
Since then, a bevy of different actors ranging from George Clooney to Ryan Gosling have been mentioned in connection with the title role. It's not an easy part to fill out — heck, Jerry Bruckheimer even turned to the fans for their casting suggestions at one point — with perhaps the most difficult obstacle coming in the form of the film's greatest asset: Depp. How do you find someone who can not only share the screen with the globally adored "Pirates of the Caribbean" superstar, but can actually steal the spotlight away as the film's central lead?
Suffice it to say, I think they found the right guy in Hammer. He's recognizable enough but doesn't have the same distracting star power that guys like Clooney or Gosling bring to the table. He's a strong, tall, deep-voiced man's man, characteristics that are absolutely essential in whoever plays the Ranger. But he also has great comedic timing — does "I'm six-foot-five, 220 pounds and there's two of me" ring any bells? Hammer's got what it takes to not only play the straight man to Depp's predictably wackier character, but he's also more than capable of delivering some zingers of his own.
It's not just great casting, but a huge career move for Hammer. Already a very talented and promising rising star with projects like Tarsem Singh's "Snow White" and Clint Eastwood's "J.Edgar" on his slate, Hammer — who was once supposed to play Batman in an ill-fated "Justice League" movie — is getting a much deserved crack at the big time. Here's hoping he seizes the moment.
Are you excited to see Armie Hammer as "The Lone Ranger," or would you have preferred someone else in the role? Give us your feedback in the comments section and on Twitter!