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Depp's Lone Ranger film shut down

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 discussing their next steps, and it is possible filming could resume, said the source.

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

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 on December 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.

© Press Association