WHILE it is highly unlikely he will ever have to face the problem on the streets of London, Harry Treadaway is reasonably confident he could lasso any runaway calf that crossed his path.

And don't ever tell him all horse riding is the same. Such are the educational benefits of having starred in The Lone Ranger and studied at cowboy boot camp.

"Over there it's all one-handed, no stirrups, western style," says Treadaway of the cowboy mode of riding. "Here it's all prim and proper and up high, it's terrifying. I got on a horse last Christmas after thinking I'd become a cowboy and could ride anything, and I realised it was like going from riding a trail bike, that we'd been riding round in the desert, to going on a road bike."

The boot camp was the idea of director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the same team behind Pirates of the Caribbean. Taking place at the Horses Unlimited ranch in Albuquerque, school involved training in throwing lassoes, riding, and, of course, pistol packing.

Treadaway, 28, who plays one of the film's bad boys, was born five decades after the first Lone Ranger adventure aired on WXYZ radio in Detroit in January 1933. The TV series ran from 1949-57, with the character, and his partner Tonto (played in the film by Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp respectively) riding high again in feature films, comic books, novels, toys, and even video games. "My dad had watched it when he was growing up and loved it," says Treadaway. "It was a huge show for him and people of his generation."

This Lone Ranger, however, is different from the one that many might remember, says Verbinski.

"I think if you're a fan of the original TV series you're going to be surprised by the movie, because everybody knows that story, and that's not the story we're telling. We're telling the story from Tonto's perspective, kind of like Don Quixote, told from Sancho Panza's point of view."

As in Pirates, the scale of the production – including battalions of extras, several stables-full of horses, vast tracts of railroad being built – was rather different to what Treadaway was used to. Having started out in the low-budget British indie Brothers of the Head, and remained largely within that world, including a role in the Andrea Arnold-directed Fish Tank, the blockbuster world seemed an alien planet at first for the lad born and brought up in Devon.

"A unit on an independent film can be 50 people, this one was 300 people travelling around with all the trailers, the cameras, the equipment, costumes, make-up. It's huge. But very quickly that becomes normal."

Nor did working with Depp faze him after a while. "It just felt like working with another actor on another project, apart from the fact you are slightly aware in the beginning that it is a man you have watched as you were growing up delivering incredible performances. That wasn't the unusual bit. The unusual bit was being in Monument Valley playing a cowboy but coming from Devon."

Treadaway and his twin Luke, who won an Olivier for his performance in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before landing their breakthrough roles in Brothers of the Head, the story of conjoined twins who become rock stars. To get into the part they spent hours bound together.

"It was surprisingly pleasant," he laughs. "It was our first job so we were just totally up for it."

The two seem to have taken a vow of silence on their twindom. "I'm not really a spokesman for twins," he says. On to something he is more comfortable talking about – his love, make that mania, for music.

After Brothers of the Head he was next able to merge his love for music and acting in Control, Anton Corbijn's biopic of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. Treadaway played the band's drummer, Stephen Morris, and, as in Brothers, it was all his own work when it came to playing.

"We had 10 days to rehearse about 10 Joy Division songs so we played eight to 10 hours a day. We managed to persuade Anton to let us play it live because it was going to be playback."

Working and travelling mean he is confined to "bedroom guitar playing" for now but he is hoping his next acting gig will allow him to stay in London for a while and play in a band. For him, music is more than a way of switching off. It's one of several sources of inspiration for his day job of acting. "If you just try to get your inspiration from one source that might be limiting."

Now he has made the move into blockbusters, does America beckon? "Spending your life pretending to be other people, living their lives, won't be much of a life if you don't also have a home base and something that's solid.

"I'll always have a house in London, I'll always call it my home. There might be moments when I get to go and work in different parts of the world but I'll always come back here."

Having got a taste of the big skies of America, he's keen one day to recreate his own haven in the British countryside.

"I'd rather have Devon. Have some chickens, a little herb garden, and play Pooh sticks."

There speaks a cowboy who refuses to be fenced in.

The Lone Ranger opens on August 9.