Johnny Depp, who plays Tonto in the Disney film The Lone Ranger, attended a special premiere of the film on Friday at Carmike Cinemas in Lawton, Oklahoma, capital of the Comanche Nation.
Also present were Native actors Saginaw Grant and Gil Birmingham, both of whom have supporting roles in the movie, as well as the director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
In addition to LaDonna Harris, Comanche, the president of Americans for Indian Opportunity who symbolicaly adopted Depp into her Nation, a host of prominent Native leaders walked the carpet. These included Comanche Nation Chairman Wallace Coffey, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, and Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians.
"I'm proud to show [this film] to the Comanche Nation and members of the Indian Nations first," Depp said, according to FemaleFirst. He then recalled his surprise appearance at the Comanche Nation Fair in the fall. "It really does feel like home after being here last year. It's good to be back. The Comanche people really welcomed me into their nation."
While news coverage of the event was generally very sunny, the Native Times expressed disappointment at the end of its story: "Despite assurances that Native media would get interview priority, the Native Times and Comanche Nation News, the only two Native media outlets present, were given minimal time in comparison to the mainstream outlets. Only one question each was allowed with Depp."
LaDonna Harris walks the red carpet with Johnny Depp. Credit: HAUS/AKM-GSI
Depp signs autographs for the enthusiastic crowd. Credit: HAUS/AKM-GSI
Tribal members dance on the red carpet. Credit: HAUS/AKM-GSI
Below is a video clip from the event posted to YouTube. The poster writes: "Johnny had the time to be with fans at Lawton, OK. I offered my combat patch in exchange for his time and love for the fans. He was very humble and honor to received such a personal token. What an amazing person!!!!!!"