Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: James Badge Dale is frontrunner to join The Lone Ranger, playing the older brother of the title character (played by Armie Hammer). Dan Reid is an ex-ranger and hero of the Old West. Disney puts the film into production next month, with Gore Verbinski directing Johnny Depp, Hammer, Ruth Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter, and Dwight Yoakum. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing.

Dale, who co-starred in Shame, next opens in the Joe Carnahan-directed The Grey, and wrapped the Marc Forster-directed World War Z and the Robert Zemeckis-directed Flight. The Lone Ranger job will knock Dale out of the short list to play John McClane Jr. in A Good Day to Die Hard. I’ve heard that Fox will widen the search for that character in the John Moore-directed film. Dale is repped by CAA.