Catherine Zeta-Jones is also on board for what’s gearing up to be a movie franchise – and one increasingly for all the family, as Zorro gets domesticated.
But, as Banderas explained to musicOMH, The Legend of Zorro is no less swashbuckling…
Women often give men a hard time, and Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is notcutting slack for her husband Alejandro (Antonio Banderas). I mean, is ittoo much too ask him to spend more time with his wife and his young son?
Apparently yes, but she’s not taking no for an answer. She wants him to stopputting on his mask, leaping on his horse’s back and saving every villagerin trouble, or else. But the threat of a divorce doesn’t stop him.
“Zorro isfull of himself. He just likes to be Zorro, like a movie star that goes overthe top,” says Banderas, player of the hero who is not always super. “He’sclumsy and imperfect.” And that adds a comic element to The Legend ofZorro, the sequel to The Mask of Zorro. “The moment I read the script andread that my wife is going to leave me, I said, ‘Oh, this is comedy! He’sgoing to jump in a pool of tequila and we can make the character un-Zorro.’”
- Antonio Banderas on Zorro’s second big screen swashbuckle
Instead of drawing a linear, boring run-of-the-mill superhero with asolution to every problem, director Martin Campbell chose to depict a humancharacter who reacts like any man would when he sees his ex-wife dating thenewcomer in town, a French aristocrat who is, Zorro claims, more than meetsthe eye.
Armand (Rufus Sewell) is in fact the secret leader of the Knightsof Aragon. One may conclude that France is the new enemy of American cinema,but Banderas laughs. “It was to make the character polite. He’s the image ofFrance of that time – educated, polite, who can impress a woman with thisstuff.”
Even though Zorro is set in 1850, when California wasn’t yet a state,the theme is quite relevant to modern times. Besides her relationshipproblems, Elena takes action into her own hands. “Catherine takes a bigchunk of the move, which is perfect, because the movie is more based onfamily now … besides the story with the French guy!” He laughs. “He’s pissedand he tries to recover himself, his wife, his kid and the mission is to bea father, more than to be Zorro, basically.”
Adrian Alonso, the youngMexican actor who plays Zorro’s son Joaquin, almost upstaged the Spanishstar. “He’s a natural actor. He didn’t take any direction at all,” Banderassays of his 10-year-old co-star, who didn’t even speak English. “He did themovie phonetically. It was familiar to me, because that’s how I did my firstmovie in America, Mambo Kings.”
- Antonio Banderas needs some R&R
Should we expect to see the young Adrianas his father’s successor in Zorro 3? Banderas decides to spill the beans.”I’m going to tell you a secret. We filmed the end of the movie being oldand going away, and there’s a young boy that’s my son, grown up.” But theproducers, including Steven Spielberg, saw the possibility of another andreshot the ending. “So I think that will be in the fourth (film), not inthe next one.” A third film will recount the genesis of Zorro: “There was talk about a prequel, about the creation of Zorro, howthe character gets born.”
But Antonio Banderas isn’t in a rush to get backto the Zorro studios just yet. “If we’re going to do a sequel, we’re goingto wait seven years, because I don’t know if I can assume the amount ofrisk.” The filming of The Legend of Zorro proved hectic, filmed in the old-fashioned’blood, sweat and tears’ way. “The physical side was extraordinarilydifficult,” remembers the actor who performed as many stunts as he could.
“At the end, it started weighing big-time on my shoulders. I suppose it wasbecause the script was pushing a little more in that direction and alsobecause I am eight years older than the first one.” He may be getting old,but Zorro is still as young – and relevant – as ever. “It continues to beconsumed. I think this will bring a new flavour to Zorro.”