I’ve been a huge fan of Zorro since I watched my first episode of Guy Williams playing the masked vigilante when I was five-years-old via Disney reruns. The sword. The cape. The mask. The horse. It enthralled the hell out of me. As I’ve said before on here, I must’ve dressed up as Zorro a good five years straight as a kid, and not much as changed in my adulthood.
So you can understand why I’m stoked to hear that Zorro is getting another movie. But it won’t be campy adventure like Guy Williams Zorro or hyper-action like Antonio Banderas’s Zorro, or uber-hilarious like Zorro: The Gay Blade. The next Zorro movie will be following the current Hollywood trend — gritty.
The ambition of the movie is less traditional swashbuckler, and more of a Dark Knight-style unveiling of the character with a new backstory, gritty realism and emotional core. There will be swordplay, combined with the martial arts that came from Europe and created a deadly combination of action and lethal fighting systems that combined swords, daggers, grappling and bare knuckles.
It worked with the Nolan Batman series and Batman was forged in a very similar mold as Zorro. So can Zorro work as a gritty action move? Hell yea… with the right people. Any idea or concept can work if executed well, and that’ll always be the key. It’s something Hollywood tends to fall flat with a lot when it comes to swashbucklers in general. Traditionally, swashbucklers are meant to be fun and full of high adventure. But as a writer who writes gritty swashbuckler myself, I know it can work. And BBC’s current production of The Musketeers is another proof-of-concept that old swashbuckler stories can be made a little more down and dirty looking and still work. It’s just going to come down to script, acting, and production. Just like everything else.
There’s plenty of history to play around with, too, that can aid in this process. How man gritty westerns have been made successfully? Numerous, right? We’re talking the same time period with Don Diego donning his black mask and cape. Manifest Destiny was all the rage in America, so they were heading as far west as they could get. The Gold Rush is in high gear, plus the wars against the Native Americans as the US pushed to the Pacific. The US-Mexican War was also during this general period and also involved the California Republic. So there’s plenty of injustice floating around for Zorro to kick some ass against.
It’ll be interesting to see how close to the original novel The Curse of Capistrano script writer Chris Boal sticks to, and how much of this new backstory is, in fact, brand new.
I mean sci-fi/futuristic Zorro: Reborn is/was/maybe happening (whatever happened to that project?), so why not gritty Z?
But count me in as super excited for a new, gritty Zorro film.