When the first image from Gore Verbinski's upcoming The Lone Ranger came online earlier this year, there was much discussion about Johnny Depp's unique visual approach to the character of Tonto. EW caught up with Depp and learned that the bird-on-head design was inspired by "I Am Crow," a painting by artist Kirby Sattler.
"[I] looked at the face of this warrior and thought: Thatís it," Depp told the outlet. "The stripes down the face and across the eyes Ö Thereís this very wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain, these slivers of the individual."
Although the original piece of art (which you can check out by clicking here) had the bird merely flying behind the subject's head, Depp appreciated the look and made some alterations.
ďI thought: Tontoís got a bird on his head," the actor continued. "Itís his spirit guide in a way. Itís dead to others, but itís not dead to him. Itís very much alive.Ē
According to Depp, his interpretation of Tonto will go even further against the grain of what fans of the character might expect.
ďThe whole reason I wanted to play Tonto is to try to [mess] around with the stereotype of the American Indian that has been laid out through history," he said. "...especially Tonto as the sidekick, The Lone Rangerís assistant. As youíll see, itís most definitely not that.Ē
Also starring Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter, the big screen adaptation will be released by Walt Disney Pictures on May 31, 2013.