The first image of Johnny Depp as Tonto in the upcoming remake of The Lone Ranger has been released.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted: "Tonto and The Lone Ranger Ride Again!" and linked to this photo.

The big budget movie, directed by Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski, is due out in mid-2013, and is based on the iconic TV series that ran from 1949-1957.

It follows a masked crime-fighting ranger, played by Armie Hammer, and his Native American companion Tonto.

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Depp recently told talk show host Larry King the script was "very funny" and likened the character to Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates films.

"What I like about Tonto, what I feel good about Tonto is that I feel like he's - you know when I came up with Captain Jack, I thought, 'Okay, I've really arrived at something different here', and Tonto feels right on par with Captain Jack.

"It feels like another Captain Jack to me."

- Herald Online