By Jack Rico
Update: The video has been taken down by request of the producers.
In the last two years, I’ve heard published news that 20th Century Fox was developing a reboot of Zorro titled “Zorro Reborn” that would take the titular character into a futuristic post-apocalyptic setting with Mexican actor Gael García Bernal attached as Zorro and Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil (The Raven) as the helmer.
I also heard there was a screen test done for Fox executives which wasn’t meant for public eyes… until now! The footage I have received, which seems to be a proof-of-concept trailer, looks incredible! It is better than I imagined it to be. To be frank, I was very down on the sci-fi Zorro concept overall when I first heard of it, but this video has made me a believer. It looks stylish, well crafted and feels like they’ve figured out a great way to reboot the character for a new generation.
Here’s what I can confirm: Ricardo de Montreuil is the director of the footage. The actor playing Zorro is Jason Day, a Peruvian actor who has worked with de Montreuil before in the 2008 indie Mancora. The voice over the speaker is that of non other than Jon Voight. The piece was filmed in South Africa in early 2012 with a budget less than a $100,000 and is said to have used Central, the same Vancouver VFX company used in the film Elysium. I’ve managed to also obtain some killer concept art of the universe they were/are creating for the film seen below.
I’m also hearing that the storyline is more defined now with rewrites from screenwriter Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) based off a script from Glenn Gers, Stevie Long, Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman. The premise has a meteorite crashing into Earth in the future that destroys much of California and Mexico leaving it as a desert. After the dust settles, that same meteorite is discovered to be a supreme source of energy, which a new hostile corporation assumes. People begin flocking to New San Diego for work only to find out they’re now being oppressed. It is then that Alejandro Fox, a descendant of Don Diego de la Vega, the original Zorro, emerges as the hero that will answer the people’s cry for justice.
Rpin Suwannath was originally attached to direct, but looks like that idea was scrapped a while back. De Montreuil, part of the new generation of crossover Latino directors, is known for two very good acclaimed Spanish language films – La Mujer de Mi Hermano and Mancora – attained a reputation for writing rich characters and introspective stories. He caught the eye of Hollywood executives three years ago when he filmed an impressive, sci-fi thriller short called The Raven, that was done on a limited budget of $5,000. Universal Pictures is said to be looking to adapting it into a feature-length film. Directors who can write strong stories and who can create visually spectacular films are in high demand and a rare few can pull them off, such as Latino helmers Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón.
Some questions still linger though, such as – what happened to Gael García Bernal? Last he reticently spoke about the Zorro topic back in May of 2012 in Cannes, he said, “There’s no start date and I don’t think there’s a director yet. I don’t know if it will happen.” Obviously, so much has happened since then, but I’m not sure Bernal was ever officially attached to the role. According to my sources, Fox executives weren’t necessarily convinced he was a no-brainer. Bernal has never been a part of a blockbuster, is known mostly for doing prestige and dramatic auteur films and he doesn’t possess the physicality that Zorro is known for. I think Fox might consider him as a box office gamble. Day actually seems perfect as Zorro, but his lack of mainstream relevance is a drawback, but if Fox decides to go with an unknown, the way WB did with Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill in Superman, he’ll work out perfectly. I’d believe him more as Zorro than Bernal.
For now, it’s anyone’s guess if Zorro Reborn will ever get greenlit, but if this unearthed trailer is any indication of what the feature-length version could be, then I for one am excited about where the loved character is headed.
What do you guys think of the trailer? Leave your comments below!