Johnny Depp has said he won't do THE LONE RANGER unless Gore Verbinski is directing, reports Deadline.com. Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are presenting Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross with a new budget around $215 million. The original budget that spurred Disney to stop production was $275 million. It's still above the $200 million the studio left comfortable with. Depp, Verbinski and Bruckheimer are including deferral of portions of their upfront pay in order to shrink the budget. But Disney worries about any number because Verbinski has a record of ballooning budgets. Additionally, Verbinski is firm on not cutting the budget so far that it would change the film he wants to make. The question is whether a deal can be struck in time for the spectacle to make its Dec. 21, 2012 release date without making vfx artists drop dead from exhaustion.