There was always going to be a reboot of the Zorro franchise. Why? Because money, that’s why. But rather than being immediately dismayed or put off by yet another retelling of a classic character, the early indication is that the upcoming Zorro reboot might be worthwhile. That’s because it’s brought on board Jonas Cuaron, the award-winning co-writer of Gravity, to both write and direct the latest incarnation.
A press release from Lantica Media and Sobini Films confirmed that Jonas Cuaron has been hired to reboot the beloved swashbuckler, with the studios also confirming that it will simply be called Z. Principal photography on the action adventure is due to begin this summer, and it will take place at Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios. Details regarding Z are being kept to a minimum in the early stages of development, but insiders have teased that it will be a brand new take on the masked character, who is intrinsically linked with the origins of Hollywood.
The very first Zorro adaptation came all the way back in 1920, when The Mask Of Zorro was released to widespread commercial success with Douglas Fairbanks in the titular role. Pulp writer Johnston McCulley debuted Zorro in 1919’s The Curse Of Capistrano, a serialized five-part story that originated in All-Story Weekly.
Rather incredibly, since this debut Zorro has gone on to appear in over forty American films, as well as countless television and radio adaptations. There have even been more Mexican based adaptations of Zorro, while a similar character by the name of Coyote has been used in a variety of European movies. But it’s the American version that is deemed the most popular and culturally relevant.
Most recently, the character was portrayed by Antonio Banderas in 1998’s The Mask Of Zorro and its 2005 follow-up, The Legend Of Zorro. Unfortunately the latter failed the match the cheesy, pulpy fun of its predecessor, or its impressive critical reviews and box office performance.
Z was entrusted to Jonas Cuaron after the powers-that-be at the studios saw his latest film Desierto, his sophomore effort as a feature film director following 2007’s Ano una.
Speaking about the effect Desierto, which is due out later this year, had on him, Sobini Film’s CEO Mark Amin explained that Jonas Cuaron showcased a perfect “command of action and suspense,” while he also had a “great visual eye” and was able to elicit strong performances from each of his actors. That’s pretty much exactly what you’re asking for from a director. It’s a good start for Z to have hired Jonas Cuaron, who also just so happens to be the son of Academy Award-winning director of Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron. The next step is to get the casting of Zorro just right.