Johnny Depp

By Tony Rizzo
The search for the new “Lone Ranger” is over. Not long ago we reported that Johnny Depp was set to play Tonto, the trusted companion of the most famous Ranger ever. Now, the title role belongs to Armie Hammer, who played both Winkelvoss twins in “The Social Network” and will soon be seen in “Snow White” with Julia Roberts, and Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edger.” “The Lone Ranger” began as a radio show in l933, spawned movie serials and a TV series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. A l981 film version starring Klinton Spilsbury was a bust.

It seems odd that the 47-year-old Depp aspired to be Tonto and not the Lone Ranger, but he’s known for his off-beat role choices. Depp and the films’ producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, have been very successful with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and could be planning this as a new franchise. Shooting will begin when Depp completes the new “Dark Shadows” movie, set for a fall 2012 release.
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Agatha Christie fans, rejoice! Her favorite novel, “Crooked House,” never produced as a telefilm or movie, will start shooting in London this summer. The great Julie Andrews will star with Gemma Atherton, Matthew Goode and Gabriel Byrne. “Crooked House” is budgeted at $20 million, not a lot for a film these days, but then Agatha Christie was the best at creating one-set drawing room mysteries.

Kiefer Sutherland, currently starring in “That Championship Season” on Broadway, will soon be shooting in Northern Ireland and New York for the film “Fairytale of New York,” with Kate Bosworth as his leading lady. It’s about a cynical but charming Irish standup comic who, while in New York, connects with an intriguing American woman. Kiefer’s pilot for a new series will have to wait in the wings as a midseason replacement while he completes this film and “Melancholia.”

As we predicted, the four TV networks have moved away from new reality shows in favor of new dramas and sitcoms. While “Charlie’s Angels” made the ABC lineup, “Wonder Woman” did not make NBC’s fall schedule. “Law & Order: SVU” was unable to convince Christopher Meloni to return, and has added Jennifer Love Hewett to fill the void. Also, NBC won’t restart “30 Rock” until midseason due to Tina Fey’s pregnancy. If Tina, who created, writes, co-produces and stars in “30 Rock,” wanted time off, all she had to do was ask for it. Maternity leave is an extreme way to get a vacation!

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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.