One of pop culture’s most legendary crime fighters, Zorro, is preparing for a return to the big screen with Gael García Bernal and Kiersey Clemons as the leads in a brand new take on the iconic hero. The project, which has previously been known as Zorro Reborn, has changed hands and gone through several iterations in recent years, with most of the pitches centered around rebooting the property in either a contemporary or a near future setting.
The project has quietly continued development and Zorro is indeed coming back to theaters with director Jonas Cuaron at the helm and a new stylish title, Z. Recently, Screen Daily broke the news about the casting of Kiersey Clemons (Dope) in Z, in an unspecified role. She joins Bernal (Desierto) who has long been attached to the project as the lead, in what most presumed to be the role of Zorro.
When we saw the markings on the wall, we decided to dig a little deeper into the project and our sources close to the production of Z revealed some interesting information about the mysterious role that Clemons has signed on to play. She will be playing a teenager of Haitian descent, who is the female lead of the project, appearing in only a few scenes less than Bernal. However, the most interesting part of the role is that Clemons’ character names herself “Zee”, in honor of the revolutionary hero Zorro, who she grew up idolizing. Bernal’s character is indeed the male lead, a veteran adventurer, who we could not confirm as Zorro by name. However, he will certainly be taking up the role of mentor and presumably looks to pass on the ways of the swashbuckler to the next generation. He will team up with Zee, who has proven leadership qualities, and together they will go to war with a corrupt corporation known as M-Corp.
It’s unclear if Bernal is the original Zorro in the Z timeline. Our sources indicate that his character is known as Emiliano Garza and is not referred to as the character’s original alter-ego, Diego de la Vega. It seems that this movie might be signaling that “Zorro” is a mantle that’s handed down throughout the generations. Even more interesting, the casting of Zee seems to signal that the actress is being positioned as the lead of the franchise by the film’s end, if solely judging by the upcoming project’s title.
Passing on the mantle of Zorro has been used in film before, probably most notably in 1998’s Mask of Zorro. In that film Anthony Hopkins’ character Don Diego de la Vega trains the drunken Alejandro Murrieta, played by Antonio Banderas, into the next generation’s “Zorro.” So there’s certainly a precedent for the narrative device in Zorro lore. Regardless, it seems that the new take on the character will be a progressive take on the iconic hero who fought for the disenfranchised and underrepresented. We will be sure to bring you more on the swashbuckler as more details emerge.