The highly-anticipated Lone Ranger has certainly had its fair share of ups and downs, and shooting hasn't even started yet. Last month, Disney pulled the plug on production, although we heard rumblings last week that the studio and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were close to resolving their budgetary issues. Now it seems that everything will be finalized next week, with Disney expected to announce production on Lone Ranger will begin in January or February 2012.

The cast remains in place, with Johnny Depp portraying Tonto, Armie Hammer playing the title character, and Ruth Wilson set for the female lead, Rebecca. We also reported in July that a number of actors such as Helena Bonham Carter, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, and Dwight Yoakam were in negotiations to join the cast. That was just a few weeks before Disney shut down the production, though, and it is not known if they will re-enter negotiations.

The production was halted due to a budget which was spiraling out of control in excess of $250 million. It seems that Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and the studio have trimmed the budget down to $215 million, while still keeping some of the big spectacle elements in play. It is believed that all of the key players involved, including Johnny Depp, have taken pay cuts to help get the budget down.

Gore Verbinski is directing Lone Ranger from a screenplay by Justin Haythe. A December 21, 2012 release date has been set, but this will likely be pushed into 2013. An official announcement is expected from Disney next week, so stay tuned.