Instead, in April 2009, Boomerang Media bought out Entertainment Rights' holdings, including Classic Media, which was acquired by DreamWorks Animation and renamed as DreamWorks Classics. The Elliot/Rossio script had a supernatural tone, including a plot element involving werewolves, and was subsequently rewritten by Justin Haythe. In May 2009, Mike Newell, who was then directing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time for Bruckheimer and Disney, entered negotiations to direct Lone Ranger. However, Bruckheimer explained the following June that he wanted to wait on hiring a director until Newell completed Prince of Persia, and until Depp finished filming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. "The priority is most definitely Pirates 4," Bruckheimer commented. "They are going to cast the title role once they get a director and Disney greenlights. We don't have a director yet. " In September of 2010, Gore Verbinski was hired to direct. Verbinski had actually suggested the role of Tonto to Depp while filming the second Pirates of the Caribbean film. Filming was slated to begin after Depp finished work on Dark Shadows. Actor Armie Hammer was selected to play the Lone Ranger, a role that Bruckheimer described as being written for "a young Jimmy Stewart character".

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