October 26, 2016
        Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams        

Is Johnny Depp’s “Lone Ranger” moving ahead without Gore Verbinski?

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: There was a lot of news flowing our of Disney’s D23 Expo over the weekend, from potential Pixar projects to “Avengers” footage introduced by Robert Downey Jr. But one or two sites are picking up on a noticeable omission when it comes to a major, major motion picture that might have hit brick wall.

When talking about “The Lone Ranger,” with Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in the lead roles of the Ranger and Tonto, Disney executive Rich Ross confirmed, “I’m hoping to do it. I’m certainly hoping. I think it’s a compelling story and no one wants to work with Jerry [Bruckheimer] and Johnny [Depp] more than me so we’ll see how it works.”

Yet, as The Playlist points out, Ross doesn’t mention director Gore Verbinski. Slip of the tongue? Or a message shot across the bow that Disney could be willing to plow ahead without Verbinski at the helm?

It would be strange, as Verbinski certainly earned Disney vaults filled with money with his “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy. He’s also coming off of the animated comedy “Rango,” which did very well at the box office. Yet these successes are the reason why Verbinski’s able to demand a higher budget, which Disney is trying to reign in.

“If Verbinski is the sacrifice, Disney may be playing a game of chicken, as he’s worked with Depp on four movies already, and Depp’s involvement in this film seems tied to Verbinski’s,” The Playlist writes. “Or is it possible he’ll just call up old friend Tim Burton again?”

Now THAT is intriguing. Burton helming a Western, with Native American mysticism and spiritual undertones? Sign us up!

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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