Zorro has been fighting injustice on the big screen since Douglas Fairbanks brought the character to life in The Mark of Zorro in 1920, though nowadays more filmgoers likely associate Antonio Banderas with the role through his work on the movies The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro (released in 1998 and 2005, respectively). More recently, Lantica Media and Sobini Films had been working on a new Zorro project that was tentatively known as Zorro Reborn.
Reborn was previously projected to start filming by March 2016 and would’ve put a sci-fi spin on the title character, making him a masked vigilante who lives in a post-apocalyptic future. That “futuristic Zorro” film no longer appears to be moving forward; however, another Zorro film by Lantica Media and Sobini Films, titled Z, has found its director – in the form of Jonás Cuarón, aka the son of the Oscar-winning Children of Men and Gravity filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón.
Heroic Hollywood broke the news (later confirmed by additional outlets) that Jonás Cuarón is now set to call the shots on Z, with the intention of beginning production on the movie by Summer 2016 at the Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios. Cuarón, who co-wrote the Gravity screenplay with his father in addition to writing/directing the short spinoff film Aningaaq, has directed two feature-length movies to date: the romance/drama Year of the Nail and, more recently, the drama/thriller Desierto, starring Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Bernal was reported to be onboard to star in the Zorro Reborn project back in 2012, so the fact that he has established a working relationship with J. Cuarón certainly doesn’t hurt Bernal’s chances of getting to play Zorro on the big screen at long last.
Although Z initially appeared to be a reworked version of Zorro Reborn, THR‘s Borys Kit has since reported that this is not the case – stating (via his Twitter account) that although Z is expected to take place in the “near future” and not be a historical action/adventure (a la the Antonio Banderas-led Zorro films), Jonás Cuarón will be “starting from scratch” on the project and not drawing from the previously-written Zorro Reborn script draft. What effect this has on the prospect of Bernal playing the title role in Zorro’s latest big screen romp (if any) remains to be seen, as no roles appear to have been filled yet.
Nevertheless, it sounds as though Z may be in the vein of the developing Robin Hood: 2058 – a project that aims to put a sci-fi spin on another iconic noble outlaw. Both of these movies are likewise taking a different approach to reviving franchises that Hollywood has returned to time and time again for nearly a century now, unlike such upcoming films as Robin Hood: Origins and this summer’s The Legend of Tarzan. By comparison, the latter duo will deliver more traditional takes on those respective franchises, complete with modern production values, big name stars, and contemporary storytelling sensibilities.
Will one of these approaches ultimately prove to be more successful than the others? That remains to be seen of course, but Jonás Cuarón’s newfound involvement with Z bodes well for the project – seeing as he is very much a filmmaker whose career is on the rise right now. Not to mention, it might take a more innovative storyteller like him to find a way and make Zorro resonate with younger moviegoers who either aren’t familiar with and/or those don’t really have much of a nostalgic love for the character already.
We’ll bring you more information on Z when it becomes available.