Modern audiences may not be overly familiar with the Lone Ranger, a character that started life on a popular 1930s radio series, but Disney is hoping to change that this week with their big budget reboot. The Lone Ranger stars Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, under the guidance of director Gore Verbinski, who previously helmed the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films.
If you’ve seen trailers for The Lone Ranger you’ve gotten a taste of its elaborate action sequences and stunt work, and we were lucky enough to catch up with Melissa Laude who worked as production assistant during the film’s shoot. Melissa was just one of the fifteen Full Sail graduates credited on this summer blockbuster, and she took us behind the scenes of her experiences on the ambitious motion picture.
Full Sail: The Lone Ranger looks like it was a gigantic undertaking, what were some of your responsibilities as a production assistant?
Melissa Laude: After my first day it was decided that because of my history in paperwork that I would be helping with the call sheet, prepping the production reports, and assisting cast on set. I worked on The Lone Ranger for over 150 days of shooting, in five states, through snow, sleet, hail, extreme wind, and extreme heat. It was quite a thrill ride.
FS: It sounds like there were some real logistical hurdles, how challenging was the production?
ML: It was shooting in the middle of nowhere with horses, guns, trains, etc – multiple elements to work with, and multiple sets, and then all of the weather challenges. Most days we had stunts and background, in addition to main cast, and 300 crew members on set. Then we had a few days in Moab with a 10-mile road lockup, and 80 additional PA’s. But it was such a great learning experience, and well worth the six-day weeks.
FS: It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to be on set for a project of that scale, did you have a favorite part of the shoot?
ML: Just being the ‘right hand man’ to the second assistant director, Eric Lasko, was an amazing experience. By the end of the show, we had such a solid system down. There were so many details to get under, and Lasko really challenged me.
I was able to take over for him when he had to leave for set, or go home for a day or two if something unexpected came up. I had meetings with the first assistant director at the end of the night to go over the call sheet and work for the next day. I mean, who would’ve thought I’d be making suggestions on a $220 million dollar movie? I can’t even put into words how great of a feeling that is.
FS: It’s not only a big summer release, but also has the coveted 4th of July slot. How exciting is it for you to see all this buzz for a project you worked so hard on?
ML: Very. I got very lucky to be part of such a great team, and it’s cool to see so much press on the movie. The cast really gives it their all. Everyone went through hell and back to make this movie, and I honestly don’t think we could’ve had a better crew. It was a team of strangers that were put together and we all ended up prevailing in the end.
Full Sail graduates featured on The Lone Ranger crew include:
Devon Barrs (Film, 2012; production assistant)
Andrew Campbell (Film, 2003; set production assistant)