Hollywood has been trying to reboot the Zorro franchise for a few years now, and it looks like things are heating up for the project once again. Two years ago, a futuristic reboot called Zorro Reborn was planned at 20th Century Fox that would have painted the titular character as more of a vigilante than a hero. Gael Garcia Bernal was poised to star, but the film never materialized. Now there’s movement on a new adaptation of the character, as Sony is gearing up to start work on a Zorro film described as a “gritty” reboot of the swashbuckler.
Per Deadline, Sony has hired playwright Chris Boal to pen the script for a Zorro reboot. The goal of this new film is to make a movie that ditches the traditional swashbuckler tone in favor of “more of a Dark Knight-style unveiling of the character with a new backstory, gritty realism, and emotional core.” The report notes that the film will incorporate swordplay 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.”
The most recent incarnation of Zorro on the big screen was director Martin Campbell’s 1998 film The Mask of Zorro and its 2005 sequel The Legend of Zorro. Both movies starred Antonio Banderas as the titular hero and served as thrilling action-adventure throwbacks, mixing in plenty of swordplay and one-liners while steering clear of unintentional comedy. Zorro lends itself to a grittier tone, but only time will tell if Sony is able to capture the magic of The Dark Knight. Many have tried, but few to none have succeeded.