When I was twenty-six years old, I was a WGAw member already with a few produced plays, but I feel like I was still very young in many, many ways. Frankly, I’m amazed anyone took me seriously at that age, because I know for a fact I didn’t carry myself with the same poise that Armie Hammer does.
I think he was exactly the right choice for Disney to cast as The Lone Ranger, and I think if they’d done something more traditional with the character, he could have absolutely crushed it. If there’s anyone who seems stranded by the script, it’s him. Obvious attention was paid to making sure that Tonto is given every bit of quirk and character that Johnny Depp requested, but Hammer is often left high and dry by the strange tonal shifts of the film and the completely inconsistent internal logic of his actions.
Even so, I think he almost manages to make it work anyway. That’s charisma, and Hammer’s going to find the right role eventually. The reason he made such a strong impression as the Winkelvoss twins in “The Social Network” wasn’t because it was a flashy part (or parts, as it were), but because he managed to clearly define both brothers without any obvious tricks.
I really like it when you find an actor who looks like a traditional leading man but who seems to have some serious weirdness bubbling just below the surface, and I think Hammer is still just starting to demonstrate what he’s capable of on-camera. The only time he seemed like he was a guy in his mid-20s was when he started to talk about the Batman costume he got to try on when he almost played Batman in George Miller’s “Justice League.”
Here’s hoping filmmakers take some chances with Hammer, because I suspect he’s going to blow us away at some point as long as he has material that’s worthwhile. I may not like “The Lone Ranger” much, but it certainly isn’t because of Hammer.
“The Lone Ranger” is open now.