When Johnny Depp and other Hollywood A-listers come to Lawton it's kind of a big deal.
In town for a special advance screening of the Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films' "The Lone Ranger," Depp signed hundreds of autographs and offered individual moments to the many who gathered in the parking lot of Carmike Cinemas Friday afternoon. Depp, producer Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski were joined by officials within the Comanche Nation and others selected to attend the screening.
Joined by his adopted Comanche mother LaDonna Harris, Depp followed Chairman Wallace Coffey and wife Debby for the stroll down the red carpet and through a fawning audience.
Though he recently turned 50, Depp's youthful grin grew broad as a feminine voice from the bleachers announced: "Johnny, I want to have your baby." He'd become acquainted with Comanche country when he visited during the Comanche Nation Fair.
"It really does feel like home after being here last year," Depp said. "It's good to be back."
"The Comanche people really welcomed me into their nation," he said.
That continued Friday. A Comanche Nation event is a celebration filled with singing and dancing. Tribal dancers pounded steps in time the drum as voices sang out to offer a celebratory feeling to the occasion.
The role of Tonto is an iconic and sometimes considered controversial role. The movie takes on the story of the Lone Ranger in a new light. It began as a radio show in the 1930s and then evolved into a popular TV show in the 1950s. Bill Voelker and Troy from Sia: The Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative, served as cultural and language specialists during the movie's production. Depp said they helped him to become as authentic in the role as possible.
"They're both really great guys, we grew close," Depp said. "It's infinitely more than I expected it could be and I'm proud to show it to the Comanche Nation and members of the Indian Nations first."
Coffey said the event was a great thing, not just for his people but for everyone who was there. He thanked Depp for coming to town. The actor arrived after leaving the set from Russia where he is shooting a movie.
"Yes, yes, it's the first day of summer and what better day to get someone this famous to come to Oklahoma," Coffey said.
Coffey praised Depp's performance as well as the movie.
"Go see the movie, it's a wonderful show," Coffey said.
The movie's "official premiere" is tonight at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, Calif. Many of the attendees of Friday's event also made the flight afterwards to attend tonight's premiere.