Actor Johnny Depp appeared on "Late Night with David Letterman" on Friday, and spoke about what he called a "near-death" experience on the set of the film. It was an incident that could have left him mangled, or worse, and which led Letterman to ask where the stunt people were.
In the Disney film, Depp plays the Lone Ranger's Native American sidekick Tonto. Obviously a lot of horseback riding was required for the flm, and although Depp grew up with horses, in this case, after a long day of running them at top speed, "everything went very sideways."
We were shooting at a different place in the desert where there's these little bumps and things, and so the horse that I was on decided to jump a couple of these little obstacles. The horse was unaware that the saddle I was wearing to sit on top of it was jury-rigged, kind of faked ... to give the effect that I'm riding bareback [as Tonto might].
So basically it's not very tight on the horse. So when we came down, the saddle slipped and I went to the left and had the reins here and somehow had the wherewithal to grab the mane of the horse. All very calm for some reason, I figured that fear would kick in but it didn't. I was waiting [Depp laughed slightly].
The actor was reported dragged about 25 yards by the horse. He added:
All I saw in front of my eyes were these very muscular horse legs and striations of muscles moving, this kind of death machine. One word popped into my head: Hooves. Mind the hooves.
When asked by Letterman what he did, Depp said he had to decide if he wanted to hang on until a horse wrangler came along and stopped the horse, or if it would be better to let go and drop to the ground.
Depp said he decided.
I dropped. It landed on my back, hit the deck pretty hard and the one thing that saved me was the horse's instinct to lift his front legs and go over me, step over me. Had he not, it was coming straight down into the head.
Letterman wondered where the stunt people were. As Depp then added,
Well, that's the exact same question I asked.
Although it's being called a "near-death experience" by many, it's not the typical near-death experience most think of. As Wikipedia says,
A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light.
The picture has had a troubled past, with Wikipedia saying:
The film was initially scheduled for a Summer 2011 release date, but "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" replaced it, because the latter was considered a priority for the studio and because "The Lone Ranger" did not have a director.
After Gore Verbinski signed for director, "The Lone Ranger's" release date was moved to December 21, 2012. However, budget concerns and negotiations resulted in a production delay, so the release date shifted to May 31, 2013.
On May 31, 2012, the release date was pushed further back to July 3, 2013, assuming the place of DreamWorks' 'Robopocalypse' (distributed by Disney, through Touchstone Pictures) for the July Fourth holiday weekend.
"The Lone Ranger" stars Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, and Ruth Wilson. It is scheduled for a July 3, 2013 release.