UPDATE: According to Variety, Hammer has landed the titular role of The Lone Ranger in Disney's developing production. Filming should begin by the end of the year for a late 2012 release.
EARLIER: Hollywood is the land of opportunity for all who venture there. Well, not all, but if you're tall, blond and handsome you've got everything you need to succeed. Of course, having a commercial and critical hit on your resume certainly helps, so Armie Hammer is really sitting pretty. The 24-year-old actor, coming off of the stellar theatrical run of The Social Network, has picked up high-profile roles in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Relativity's Snow White adventure. Just like that, he's one of the most in-demand male leads in the business and he's now circling a true star-making role opposite another major entertainment icon.
Variety reports that Hammer is the frontrunner for the titular part in Disney's update of The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp has long been locked to portray Native American sidekick Tonto and the A-lister wrangled his Rango and Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski to helm, reuniting the duo with their producer/friend Jerry Bruckheimer. Justin Haythe wrote the script for the film, which is adapted from the beloved radio program and golden-age TV show. The goal is to shoot the film later this year for a fall/winter 2012 release, but that all depends on Depp's ever-packed schedule; the Oscar-nominee is set to reunite with Tim Burton on the gothic drama Dark Shadows shortly, which would make said start date difficult for all involved.
The Lone Ranger is a combination of two of my favorite storytelling concepts: that of the masked vigilante and the hardened Western hero. While it's easy for anyone to don the black mask of the Ranger, I haven't seen anything from Hammer to suggest that he can deliver a genuine portrayal of the gritty law dog. That may not be the direction the filmmakers are taking the character in (this is a Disney production, after all), but I'm of the mind that The Lone Ranger needs to skew slightly older and more mature. Though Hammer's definitely got the physique, I'm not sure he's the best man for this job. I liked Ryan Gosling more, and believe it or not, George Clooney was a better pick for the part. Let's see where this goes.