Lamy, N.M. – For fans of the Lone Ranger, it’s all about the mask.
Armie Hammer remembers the moment he first wore the leather disguise to star as the mysterious lawman in “The Lone Ranger” (due July 3).
“We were standing in a back room putting on all of these costumes. And (costume designer) Penny Rose goes, ‘Here, darling, put this on,’” Hammer said. “I put it on, looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Holy (cow), this is the Lone Ranger mask.’”
“It’s a privilege and an honor to wear this,” he said.
Today, Disney studios will release a new trailer of “The Lone Ranger,” which reunites “The Pirates of the Caribbean” trio of Johnny Depp (Tonto), director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. This trailer follows law-abiding John Reid’s decision to live as a masked man.
How Hammer and his fellow filmmakers came to the right look was a subject of considerable pre-filming discussion.
“There was definitely a lot of mask talk,” said Hammer, speaking before shooting on the New Mexico set. “We had to get the right look.”
Rose says there was no chance they were simply going to mimic the mask from the original 1950s television series.
“The original was (made of ) felt. It was something you could buy at a joke shop,” Rose said. “If you’re going to reinvent a whole story, you’ve got to come up with something unusual and exciting. And above all, it has to be cool.”
At first, they toyed with different materials such as suede, which was quickly tossed out. “Armie has the white hat, that hair and those fabulous eyes,” says Rose. “It seemed kind of weak to do it in anything other than leather.”
Make-up/effects artist Joel Harlow says there were up to seven fittings, working through 10 designs over weeks to get the perfect cut, some were too small, too Zorro or too superhero.
“The difference between bringing the cut up a fraction of an inch on the cheekbone changes the look entirely,” says Harlow. “It’s very difficult.”
“There were several versions before nailing it,” says Hammer. “But as soon as I put the one on, it was like, that’s it. We all kind of knew it.”
The mask was fitted to Hammer’s face to keep a smooth look for the arduous desert shoot. And it allowed the filmmakers to move onto other tasks, such as finding the right white horse to play Silver.
“Actually, we have five or six white horses playing Silver and each one of them has their own specific personality,” says Hammer. “For the most part, it doesn’t feel all bad riding a white horse on the crest of a mountain.”
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