- Associated Press - Saturday, August 13, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Walt Disney Studios’ much-anticipated big-screen adaptation of “The Lone Ranger” starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer has been shut down, according to a source close to the production.

Those involved in the project are figuring out their next steps, and it’s possible filming could resume, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions and requested anonymity.

The development was first reported in Deadline Hollywood, an entertainment industry news website. It cited difficulties with reducing the movie’s estimated $250 million cost to $200 million.

Jerry Bruckheimer was set to produce the film with a script by Justin Haythe. Hammer was expected to play the title character, and Depp was set to be the Lone Ranger’s partner, Tonto.

The Lone Ranger show _ about a masked Texas Ranger who battles injustice in the Old West _ first aired on radio in the 1930s and became a hit TV series during the 1950s. The movie adaptation was scheduled to be released Dec. 21, 2012.

The film would bring together Depp and Bruckheimer, who have collaborated on the wildly successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. That franchise has raked in billions of dollars in worldwide box office sales for Disney.

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