The announcement in today's Variety that Johnny Depp would be playing Tonto in a movie version of The Lone Ranger seemingly came out of nowhere, especially given that there wasn't even a Lone Ranger attached. But now Ain't It Cool has it from one of their many trusted sources that none other than George Clooney is interested in the role.

Apparently undeterred by the fact that everyone hated him the last time he played a masked crime fighter, "George Clooney has shown a lot of interest in the role of the Lone Ranger, and the studio's been talking to him about it." He'll be replacing Nic Cage, who had been interested in the part, and who would have taken this already questionable idea into outright disaster territory.

There are so many issues with The Lone Ranger as an artifact of the past-- the weird "progress is good at any cost" message, and the subtle racism of the silent Native American sidekick-- that it's hard to imagine how they'll update this story. Mostly I just hope Depp isn't actually playing a Native American; if that's the case, we've got some serious judgment questions to ask. But Clooney seems as good a candidate as anyone to take a ride on Silver; we just have to find out if the rumor is true.

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