Updated: October 19, 2011 3:12AM
Disney has shut down production of “The Lone Ranger,” its ambitious retelling of the classic Western that was to star Johnny Depp.
Sources say the abrupt move to kill a project that was set to begin shooting in the fall comes amid budget clashes with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. A Disney spokesman could not be reached for comment.
“The Lone Ranger,” scheduled for release in December 2012, was heralded by Disney as a potential franchise starring the bankable Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”) as the Lone Ranger. Gore Verbinski, director of the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, was set to helm.
The studio is said to have given Verbinski a firm budget number, but the director balked.
Another concern, according to an insider, is that even though Depp is the biggest star in the world, the Western is having some dark days, particularly in light of the recent poor showing of “Cowboys & Aliens.”