Although Gotham City is filled with colorful supervillains, there are still plenty of ‘regular’ criminals causing trouble separately from the freaks. One of Gotham’s most notorious organized crime figures is Carmine Falcone, who will be played in Matt Reeves’ The Batman by John Turturro.
While John Turturro has been a Batman fan since he was a kid, there was another masked hero who was top dog for him in his younger years: the sword-wielding Zorro, who celebrated his 100th anniversary last year. The actor recalled:
I’m playing the bad guy. I loved Batman growing up, but I’m really a Zorro fan. So there’s no Batman without Zorro. When I was 5 years old, I thought I was Zorro with a sword. I had a stick that I hit my father with all the time.
As one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked vigilante, Zorro is most frequently depicted as Diego de la Vega, who uses his sword-fighting skills to fight against tyranny and corruption in the era of Spanish California, i.e. ranging from 1769 to 1821, although some stories have been set later on in the 19th century. Along with numerous appearances in print media, Zorro has also led various movies, TV shows and radio dramas.
Considering that John Turturro was born in 1957, I imagine he became a Zorro fan either from catching airings of Zorro’s film appearances from the ’20s-‘40s, or he watched the Disney-produced Zorro TV series that ran from 1957 to 1959. Either way, Zorro was the #1 hero for Turturro growing up, but he went on to become a fan of the Adam West and Burt Ward-led Batman TV series. Continuing in his interview with Inquirer.net, Turturro said:
Then, when Batman came on TV, it was a big thrill. I read some of the comics. My sons always read DC comics. So I played with those for years. I like Matt Reeves, the director. It’s an interesting cast.
Zorro was most recently played on the big screen by Antonio Banderas in 1998’s The Mask of Zorro and 2005’s The Legend of Zorro. While there was a Zorro reboot in the works several years back, there haven’t been any updates on it lately. As of last June, it’s looking like the character’s next cinematic appearance will be in an adaptation of the Django/Zorro comic book miniseries, although who knows if that’ll even get off the ground.
While Batman has unquestionably surpassed Zorro in popularity, the latter hero actually plays a key role in the former’s origin story. Oftentimes The Mark of Zorro (either the 1920 original or the 1940 remake) is the movie young Bruce Wayne saw with his parents before they were gunned down in Crime Alley by Joe Chill, and Zorro would go on to inspire Bruce’s own masked persona as an adult.
As for John Turturro, he is the third actor to portray Carmine Falcone in live action, following Tom Wilkinson in Batman Begins and John Doman in Gotham. While no specific plot details for The Batman have been revealed yet, it’s a good bet that the Caped Crusader will be going up against the Falcone crime family. Not only that, but if the movie is adapting The Long Halloween as seemingly indicated, then Falcone’s operations could also be targeted by a different villain.
Joining John Turturro in The Batman’s cast are Robert Pattinson as the eponymous protagonist, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, Colin Farrell as Penguin, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson and Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál, along with Gil Perez-Abraham, Charlie Carver, and Max Carver being cast in undisclosed roles. In addition to directing The Batman, Matt Reeves also co-wrote the script with Mattson Tomlin.