It’s been six years since somebody made a Zorro movie, which means a movie title featuring a brand name that everyone knows is just lying around not making one of Hollywood’s corporations any money. So of course Fox is getting ready to put that name back to work, earning dollars with a new movie. At least, though, they’re not doing the same old thing. The next time you see Zorro, it’ll probably be more like The Road Warrior than those Antonio Banderas movies.
The project being developed at Fox is called Zorro Reborn and it takes the character out of a California on the verge of becoming Mexico and re-imagines the classic, swashbuckler in a post-Apocalyptic future. So basically it’s exactly the same as actual modern day Mexico. Have you seen anything south of the border lately? It’s less like Taco Bell and more like a Cormac McCarthy novel down there.
Apparently this won’t be set in modern day Mexico though, but in a desolate future where it’s not even clear if Zorro will still use whips and swords, or for that matter be a swashbuckling hero at all. Instead he’ll be more like a vigilante, because we really don’t have enough vigilante movies. Ok we do have enough vigilante movies, but any time someone tries to make a movie about a hero who isn’t a vigilante, they get picked on by fanboys and laughed out of the theater. References for this phenomenon include better than they get credit for but absolutely not dark vigilante movies like Superman Returns and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
So from a money-making perspective and maybe even from a creative perspective this all makes sense. You take a recognizable name which you hope will put people in seats, and then you do exactly what the prevailing pop culture attitude demands you do with it. Then to top it off, you hire an untested visual effects artist to direct it, because nobody really cares what it’s about as long as the effects look really good in the trailers. So Rpin Suwannath is directing, and his resume includes effects work on X-Men, The Matrix, and some of that brightly colored Narnia stuff which got laughed out of theaters by nerds alongside that really nice Silver Surfer fellow.
They do need some sort of script though so the LA Times says Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy are hammering one out. They have slightly more experience at their job than Suwannath, their previous writing credits being a Dracula reboot called Harker which hasn’t been released yet. I guess reboots are their thing.
All of this sounds like a potentially fun movie idea. It doesn’t sound anything like a Zorro movie, since they’re removing nearly everything that makes Zorro, Zorro, but at this point I don’t think anyone cares. It’s Zorro. He’s already had at least one good movie made about him, and he’s been around since the 20s. He had his day and if slapping the Zorro name on something completely unrelated is the only way to get anything made in Hollywood’s current climate of fear-based producing then go for it.