Today: May 22, 2024

The Lone Ranger’s Ladies

This summer sees the release of The Lone Ranger, the much-anticipated revival of one of the classic Wild West stories. So far most of the focus has been given to Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer’s unlikely duo of Tonto and the Lone Ranger. While they certainly get into enough trouble of their own, the women of The Lone Ranger show that the harsh and gritty frontier is not just a man’s world. The film brings together two incredible talents: the always stellar film veteran Helena Bonham Carter, and the relatively fresh rising star Ruth Wilson.

Twice nominated for an Oscar, and recently awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Helena Bonham Carter takes on the role of Red Harrington, a dramatically coiffed, straight-talking, ivory-legged proprietor of a mobile establishment of lavish entertainments. Across the vast and rugged landscape, Harrington goes wherever the railroad takes her. Why? Because that’s where the business is.

Interestingly, despite her talent, Bonham Carter has never had any formal acting training. Even though her academics qualifications were strong, she was denied admission to King’s College, Cambridge as the school officials feared that she would leave during the course to pursue a career in acting – and perhaps they were right. After a couple of previous, smaller roles, her breakthrough came playing Lady Jane Gray in Lady Jane. This was followed by the role of Lucy Honeychurch in A Room With A View. Since then, she has appeared in a film every year except for 2008.

Compared to Bonham Carter’s prolific career, Ruth Wilson is a fresh face; however, she’s no slouch. After studying history at the University of Nottingham, Wilson attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, graduating in 2005. Mostly appearing in television and theatre, she was nominated for a BAFTA for her role as Jane Eyre in the show of the same name, which was only the second role of her career. Wilson has also made her mark playing the delightfully devious Alice in Luther, starring Idris Elba. She made her first film appearance in 2011 in Anna Kerenina as Princess Betsy, the somewhat amoral and hypocritical centre of Russian high society.

In The Lone Ranger – only her second film appearance – Wilson plays Rebecca Reid. Made for finer things, yet possessing the grit and independence of any frontiersman, Rebecca is a woman caught between the two Reid brothers; one her world-weary, Texas Ranger husband, Dan Reid, and the other, John Reid, the Lone Ranger. It will certainly be exciting to find out how this family drama unfolds in the midst of the revolutionary and explosive changes taking place around them.

Neither of these formidable ladies fit the bill of the traditional Western damsel in distress. Both Carter and Wilson offer up three-dimensional, well-realised characters in a film that already boasts a fantastic cast. Add to this, all of the explosions and Tonto and the Lone Ranger’s shenanigans, this film should be one hellova ride.

The Lone Ranger opens in cinemas 9th August 2013.

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