By Clark Collis
January 18, 2011 at 02:00 PM EST

Image Credit: Solarpix/PR Photos; Everett CollectionJohnny Depp is still planning to star in Disney’s planned big screen version of The Lone Ranger, he tells EW exclusively. “I think it’s going to be good, when we have a chance to put it up on its feet,” says Depp of the project. The actor will play the role of Tonto in the project, which is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer with original Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski attached to helm. “What we’ve got so far screenplay-wise is really great, really funny.”

Depp, who is part Cherokee, feels a special connection to the role of Tonto. “I always felt Native Americans were badly portrayed in Hollywood films over the decades,” he says. “It’s a real opportunity for me to give a salute to them. Tonto was a sidekick in all the Lone Ranger series. [This film] is a very different approach to that partnership. And a funny one I think.”

For more about Johnny Depp’s future movies, the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film On Stranger Tides, and all the rest of the stuff you’ll be watching, hearing, and reading in 2011, pick up the new 2011 Preview! issue of Entertainment Weekly.

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