Author Topic: Say what Johnny Depp?  (Read 54259 times)

Epiphany

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Say what Johnny Depp?
« on: May 09, 2011, 07:54:05 pm »
Quote
In the Entertainment Weekly article, Depp also brought up his belief that he has Native blood, which he has mentioned in the past. “My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American,” he said. “She grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.” For Depp, his heritage gives the Tonto role an added personal dimension. “If you find out you’ve got Native American blood, which a lot of people do,” he told Entertainment Weekly, “you think about where it comes from and go back and read the great books, Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee or [John Ehle's] Trail of Tears, you have to think, somewhere along the line, I’m the product of some horrific rape. You just have that little sliver in your chemical makeup.

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/05/johnny-depps-tonto-may-take-the-lead-in-new-lone-ranger-movie
/

Why doesn't he know his actual genealogy?


Epiphany

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 08:25:14 pm »

Offline tecpaocelotl

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2011, 02:23:08 am »
Why is Johnny Depp getting the part of Tonto?

Epiphany

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2011, 07:48:09 pm »
If I worked up his genealogy correctly through public records on ancestry.com - his people are all listed as white in census, nobody tribal enrolled. Depp has claimed that a maternal great-grandmother was Cherokee, I don't see any verification of that.

Bothers me that on one hand his heritage isn't  important enough to him to research but on the other hand it is important enough to him to claim he has Cherokee ancestry and is therefore okay for the role of Tonto.

Depp could very easily find out who his people are, if he hasn't already. Records are all available and we're not talking way back in the mists of time, this is a recent generation he is claiming.

Offline E.P. Grondine

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 04:54:27 pm »
The thought came to me quite a while ago that Disney has a problem: a "Frontierland" with no NDNs. This is important to them not only in the US, but also in Europe and Japan.

It looks to me like Disney, being the first class organization that it is, decided to re-make "The Long Ranger" with Tonto to solve that problem.

I don't know, does everyone here agree that Tonto is a good Native American character? And thus would make a good role model for young people as well?

(Personally, I thought a nightly festive powwow in Frontierland could have earned Disney a whole whole lot of money, and I still do, and it could provide work for many Native American actors and actresses, dancers, and musicians. I even had the spot for the dance circle picked out - the little space in front of "Thunder Mountain". All I want is 1/2 of 1% of the frybread and buffalo stick sales...)

Depp is one of the finest actors of his generation, and generally any work he does has quality, and thus box office draw. He already has good experience with Disney with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.

Of course, Dustin Hoffman in "Little Big Man" proved (at least to me) that a European actor could deliver a Native worldview, and it looks like Depp decided to play the Tonto role that way.

The problem Disney now has is finding an actor strong enough to play The Lone Ranger against Depp's Tonto.

It is sad that Depp thinks that his ancestry came from rape, and that may explain why he never looked into it further.

I suppose that if Disney can find its Lone Ranger, then Depp will study for the Tonto role. A strange path -  I suppose that if his heritage turns out to be true, someone will have to give Depp the diabetes warning.

What a different world we would live in if the Colonel (reported to have been a fugitive Nazi war cirminal) had not told Elvis to shut up talking about his Cherokee heritage.

The pieces start to fall into place.

(You personally may find my views annoying - please allow me to mention that spanning the two worlds is difficult for anyone, and more difficult with the
effects of diabetic stroke. Composing this post has been an exercise for me, trying to collect my thoughts before I face the rest of the day. And it is going to be a long night.)


« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 05:15:31 pm by E.P. Grondine »

Offline Freija

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2011, 09:08:25 am »
Depp does a lot of charity work, but mostly "incognito". Like helping and supporting Native American Youths. Many Native kids are very talented in the fields of art and acting but due to the costs, most of them would never have the opportunity to pursue their careers. Until now. I think Johnny Depp´s choice not to give much info about his ancestry might  be because he knows what the tabloids are like. From what he does "off screen" I think he probably knows more about it than he says.

A friend of mine works in the filmindustry in Hollywood. In her opinion (having worked with him) Depp is not only an amazing actor but a wonderful, humble guy with a heart of gold. But he is also very private and shy. He honors his ancestors the best way he can - in private and in silence. Noone´s business but his own  ;)

Aaaaaand that was the end of the Hollywood gossip for today  ;D

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2011, 08:59:04 pm »
What a diverse group of NDNs had to say about it: http://www.nativeamericacalling.com/nac_past.shtml

Story starts at about 5:57

Tuesday, January 18, 2011– Win Johnny Depp!: (listen)
'Rumors are circulating that a new movie will soon be made about “The Lone Ranger and Tonto,” and that Johnny Depp is slated to play Tonto. These rumors also proclaim that in order to prepare for his role as Tonto, Depp plans to live on a yet-to-be-determined Indian reservation. But why isn't one of our great Native actors playing Tonto? On the other hand, what would some of the economic benefits be of having Depp live on your reservation for a short period of time? And if he's really serious about playing Tonto, what day-to-day experiences and cultural practices should Depp go through in order to really get the hang of being Tonto?'


My thoughts: Depp is a very talented actor, and his clout in the film industry is undeniable. But if Depp's politics are so good, rather than participate in a paintdown, he could use this influence to demand that Natives play Natives. He could direct or produce. He could produce a film and hire a Native director. He could play one of the non-Native roles in the film, or the role of person who thinks they maybe sorta might just have some Native heritage somewhere back there... uh, like, probably Cherokee, y'know. He could do a satire and play a confused seeker or a pretendian. All sorts of options that don't rely on yet another non-Native playing a Native.

Why not cast Depp as The Lone Ranger and hire a Native actor to play Tonto? Is Johnny Depp as "ethnic" as Disney is willing to go? Then maybe Depp should give Disney a polite "no" on this movie.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 11:04:09 pm by Kathryn »

Offline tecpaocelotl

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 05:44:27 am »
I'm assuming he got his role since he played a native in The Brave.

Offline OneRed

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2011, 07:52:58 am »
You know sometimes people just deal with their issues differently than others and maybe his ancestry is pretty painful for him to bother with it. I know there have been times in my life, where I shouldn't have went looking for things, did and it ended up causing me more pain. And he probably doesn't want the media to have a field day with it, I know I wouldn't, especially if what he says is true. And especially since there's so many crazy people out there that would be harassing him like mad, "oh give me money" .. you know how it goes and maybe the reason he's been so quiet about it up until the past few years is because he might have been type casted ... and we see a lot of that with our native actors all the time. Look at the Baker Twins  and Irene Bedard as an example, they have to take on other ethnic roles to get work sometimes, they were talking about this on Tyra Banks' show. And you think about all the other famous people that we are now learning are native or have some native blood, would they have gotten where they were if they had said they were native? My guess is probably not, since we know how much native racism exists in not only hollywood, but in every day life.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 07:47:46 pm »
http://nativeappropriations.blogspot.com/2012/03/johnny-depp-as-cultural-appropriation.html

Johnny Depp as Cultural Appropriation Jack Sparrow...I mean Tonto.

"The Tonto costume is a mish-mash of stereotypical Indian garb, a Plains-style breastplate with a southwest-style headband (minus the effing bird), random feathers and beads--but the face paint that makes him look evil, forlorn, and angry all at once is a nice touch. Then, the fact that the publicity photo shows the "wild" and "unruly" (ok, I'll say it, "savage") Tonto behind the clean, polished, (and white) Lone Ranger is a great "honoring" to Native people too, and shows how much agency Tonto has, right? (/sarcasm)

"You guys, I'm pissed off. Like for real. I had a teensy-tiny bit of hope that this wouldn't be another othering-stereotype-filled-horror, but clearly I was so wrong. This movie has a budget of like $215 million. That big of a budget, and you couldn't have hired a Native consultant, or shoot--even asked  a Native person from the community you're purporting to represent (Tonto's Apache, right?) what the character should look like?"

Read whole post (It's an excellent one)

I'm pissed off, too. All the talented Native actors, and this is what happens. It doesn't matter if Depp's weird fantasies of "Cherokee.. or maybe Creek" ancestors way way back turns out to be true. This is offensive no matter where his blood comes from. If he had any actual connection to Native cultures he would know this was wrong and would stop it. This is inexcusable.

Offline E.P. Grondine

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 04:33:54 pm »
"The name "Tonto" is considered offensive by some, due to its etymology — it comes from the Spanish word for "stupid". However, the name has mostly stuck and is widely used by most people outside of the Western Apache community. The term Tonto is most frequently encountered in anthropology literature, especially older works."

If I were looking for a backstory, I would make "Tonto" the last surviving member of a pueblo nation that was killed off for its silver, first by the Spanish, then by miners. That would account for the Lone Ranger's silver bullets, and would make a great ride for Disney - The Lost Silver Mine. The powwow grounds could be adjacent, the whole part of Frontierland.

(So the way it is coming to my mind is an attack by conquistadors, followed by a plague, followed by an attack by the Mexican Army (even the Mexicans did not like the aristocrats), followed by the miners... Disney ends up with a "lost city" to add to their ride, along with more "scary" skeletons.)

The attack by the miners would come when Tonto was 9 or 10 years old, and after their genocidal attack he would kill them all with their own dynamite.

I would have Tonto then live with the Apache, hence his name. So Depp's dress needs to be worked on a lot - it needs pueblo influences, IMO.  We have been shown a war dress which is not correct, but its early in production and there's a long way to go. This should be his Last Guardian of his People's lands dress.

We have not seen Depp in daily dress yet, and that is more important, though I suppose that will be Silverhill's deerskins.

Since Tonto is not Apache, he then wanders back west to guard his people's lands, which look something like the northern Cochino National Forest. That way you get desert, plains, forest, and mountain.

And Texas Rangers.

In any case, the actor who plays the Lone Ranger is disposable to the property, as there can be multiple "Lone Rangers" who Tonto selects: The Lone Ranger dies, and Tonto "selects" and trains another one.

This is a movie, folks, though a very very important one to Native America.
We'll have to await word from the Hollywood Native American actors.

Its too bad that the way the film industry works, but there is a need for a big name to get funding, This is just the beginning, and there's still a lot of work to be done...

We'll have to see if Depp is a great enough actor to pull off the role. He is following in Jay Silverheel's footsteps... Just as Superman still has to be Superman, Native America youth still have to be able to see one of themselves on the Big Screen, or this is not going to work...

In any case, it is clear that Depp still needs to work things out as concerns his family, as this bears on his psychological state to play this role. Please keep in mind that PODIA are referred to as "breeds" in the Old South, hence their desire to use the more elegant French term "meti". (with apologies to the Canadian Meti. It's too bad about Elvis and "Colonel Parker" (yeah, in the SS).

I don't know why this matter has grabbed my attention... but it has.
(There are 2 12 year olds and a 7 year old waiting for my visit today...
I have to set this down. Have to...)

« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 02:25:37 pm by E.P. Grondine »

Offline E.P. Grondine

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 05:38:13 pm »
This is a persistent thought. (its still with me.)

I never saw "The Brave", and that should be an indicator... not a good sign

Depp will need muscle padding in his deerskins and lifts in his moccasins.
If he physically can't fill Jay Silverhill's moccasins, there are Native American actors who can.

Depp will see the dailies, and if he can't pull the role off, then perhaps he should move to assistant director or some such.

As far as his dress for as last guardian of his peoples' lands, and the savior and trainer of the Lone Ranger, he will need Navajo influences. Anyone else here think that he needs a large raven for his headdress, and needs to adjust his face paint?

« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 02:16:58 pm by E.P. Grondine »

Offline E.P. Grondine

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 09:54:07 pm »
Still with me...

Tonto needs to be able to influence good people away from his peoples' lands, help travelers on their way, and scare off bad people, or feed their bodies to mountain lions.

This thought is sticking with me, keeping me from my work.
I suppose we will all see how it works out...
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 11:54:38 pm by E.P. Grondine »

Offline E.P. Grondine

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 06:13:36 pm »
Saturday morning, it was the entry line to the ride, with animatronic mountain lions in a pit, and animatronic birds above at excarnation stone platforms or maybe wood platforms. And the ruins of Tonto's no longer inhabited pueblo somewhere along the way, either on entrance or exit. A play area like Tom Sawyer's island

Saturday evening was looking at one of Disney's earlier efforts, "Squanto" with a limited review audience. "Squanto" was married, which took the fantasy off of him for young women, and there was not enough "action" for young men. While "Squanto" got an "alright" to "okay" rating. the generic powwow songs and dances fascinated.

It seems likely to me that the "Sqaunto" film project was hatched during Disney's "America" theme park period. Naturally the history was abysmal. The "bad guys" were English nobles, as in "Pirates of the Caribbean".

"Squanto" clearly showed the limitations of audience sensitivities in which Disney has to work. But murdering bank robbers should make acceptable bad guys.

Back in the real world, this was my first field trip to the Fox River region, where one of the nearby major ceremonial complexes is "privately owned".

Thoughts on this have passed for now.







« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 11:21:47 pm by E.P. Grondine »

Offline E.P. Grondine

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Re: Say what Johnny Depp?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2012, 11:19:59 pm »
They're back again -

One of the big pluses for "Squanto" was his ability to "speak" with different animals, so no doubt "Tonto" will be able to do the same.

Jay Silverheel's "Tonto" was older than Depp. something of a father figure, and in my opinion Depp is too young to  play "Tonto" in that way.

Depp is a good enough actor to judge his own performance in the dailies.