Comanche Nation adopts Johnny Depp

Actor will play Tonto in forthcoming Lone Ranger film

by Jennie Kermode

At 48, Johnny Depp has just been adopted. In New Mexico to research his role in the forthcoming Lone Ranger film, he was invited to become a member of the Comanche Nation Native American tribe, and reportedly responded with delight. After a special ceremony, he became, in traditional terms, the son of tribe member LaDonna Harris.

The adoption will ease tensions within some parts of the Native American community, where it has been argued that Depp's casting as the Lone Ranger's sidekick Tonto represents yet another instance of a white man being made up to play a member of another race. Depp has justified the casting by asserying that he does have native ancestry. In recent years, genetic tests have shown that many descendants of Native Americans lack visible native features.

Tonto, who was played by Jay Silverheels in the popular television series, has often been a controversial character. Early criticism related to his name, which means 'stupid' in Spanish, though in the local language where the series was set it means 'wild one'. As the character developed he was increasingly accepted by native people as a rare example of a positive portrayal. The film, due for release next year, centres of Tonto's story. The Lone Ranger is to be played by Armie Hammer.

Share this with others on...

Sense memories Robert Tinnell on Feast Of The Seven Fishes and family memories

Keeping his word Michael Apted in conversation on 63 Up

Talking about juxtapositions Thom Powers on dreams, fashion, identity, nature and bright spotlights in DOC NYC

Dedicated to DA Pennebaker Thom Powers on Martin Scorsese, Michael Apted, the Masters and Winner’s Circle in the tenth edition

EIFF goes coastal Free Film Fest on the Forth announced

DOC NYC award winners announced Viewfinders, Metropolis, Shorts and Short List results

More news and features

We're bring you coverage of the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC and the French Film Festival.

We're looking forward to Tallinn Black Nights and Welsh horror festival Abertoir.

We've recently been at the Valencia Film Festival, New York's NewFest, the Cambridge Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, Manchester's Grimmfest, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival and the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.