LOS ANGELES – “The Lone Ranger” is back in the saddle.

The big-budget film starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the title character will restart production Feb. 6, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Walt Disney Studios halted work on the modern retelling of the popular 1949 television western in August, citing budgetary concerns. The filmmakers had been asked to reduce the $250 million budget to reach the $200 million figure Disney had wanted to spend.

A spokesman for the film studio did not respond to requests for comment; however, a person familiar with the situation said the project had been revived.

Many details remain unclear, including the production budget for the film and the release date. The film originally was scheduled to reach theaters on Dec. 21, 2012.

Depp has been the studio’s most bankable star in recent years, anchoring two films that reaped more than $1 billion in worldwide box office – this summer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and the 2010 film “Alice in Wonderland.”

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the team behind the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, will be involved in the project. Verbinski previously clashed with Disney studio executives over cost overruns on the third installment of the “Pirates” franchise and did not direct the most recent sequel.

Judge throws out lawsuit filed over ‘The Hurt Locker’

LOS ANGELES – A federal judge Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by an Iraq war veteran who claimed “The Hurt Locker” was based on his experiences as a bomb disposal expert.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen ends Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver’s case against the producers of the Oscar-winning film, its screenwriter and director Kathryn Bigelow.

Sarver sued over the film days before it went on to win best picture at the Academy Awards in 2010. He claimed screenwriter Mark Boal based the film on him and that he was presented in a false light and suffered ridicule from fellow service members because of it.

Nguyen rejected those arguments and ruled that Sarver was unlikely to win the case if it proceeded.
“Here, the value of ‘The Hurt Locker’ unquestionably derived from the creativity and skill of the writers, directors, and producers who conceived, wrote, directed, edited, and produced it,” Nguyen wrote in her opinion.

Boal and the producers have repeatedly denied Sarver’s claims and sought dismissal of the case.
In court filings, Sarver said using him as a basis for Jeremy Renner’s character in the film had harmed his reputation and placed his life at risk.

Koppel joins Brian Williams newsmagazine

NEW YORK – Veteran journalist Ted Koppel is joining Brian Williams’ newsmagazine on NBC. NBC announced Thursday that the longtime “Nightline” anchor joins Harry Smith and Meredith Vieira as correspondents on “Rock Center.” Since leaving ABC News in 2005, Koppel has done work for the Discovery Channel and NPR.

The newsmagazine debuts Halloween night at 10 p.m. ET.

“My goal is to make ‘Rock Center’ the Cooperstown of our craft,” Williams said. “Ted is a consensus Hall of Famer, joining the best team of men and women on the air today.”

Feliciano to open a cafe in Vienna

VIENNA – Jose Feliciano has already sung an ode to one of the world’s musical capitals with “The Sound Of Vienna.” Now he’s about to get involved with the city’s other main claim to fame – cafes.

The Puerto Rican star plans to open a cafe next month that will feature beans from the family’s plantation.