Johnny Depp commits to his ''Lone Ranger'' character

By Adam Markovitz
April 12, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Johnny Depp is famous for the commitment he brings to his characters. But that dedication reached another level when he approached playing Tonto, the Native American guide in The Lone Ranger. During production last spring, the actor became an honorary member of the Comanche tribe. After getting to know several Comanches who had consulted on the film, Depp was invited to undergo a formal adoption, which took place last May at the Albuquerque, N.M., home of Native American activist LaDonna Harris. ”When the request came in, I couldn’t believe it,” Depp tells EW in an email. ”It was an honor beyond all honors.”

Depp’s Comanche friends picked a ceremonial name for him that reflects his onscreen abilities. ”The name they chose for me, Mah-Woo-Meh, means shape-shifter. Which I suppose is quite apt, and I take great pride in that choice,” explains the actor, who says his own Native American ancestry helped inform his work on The Lone Ranger. ”Even with what little knowledge I have of the degree of indigenous blood within me, our Native American brothers and sisters gave me the passion and drive to build my character with great care.” And the adoption is ”possibly the greatest memento that I have ever returned with, from anywhere.”

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  • PG-13
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  • 149 minutes
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