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"Rango" would likely not have been made without the support of star Johnny Depp, said Verbinski backstage after winning the Oscar for best animated feature on Sunday.
Part of the film's unique allure was that it was developed largely outside of the studio system and Depp was the reason for that.
"It helps when you're friends with Johnny Depp," explained Verbinski. "We needed money and once Johnny said he was in, things started to happen."