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He's Zorro, the family man
By Glenn Whipp, Staff Writer

Antonio Banderas wishes it didn't take seven years between "Zorro" movies if only to ease the pain of those 4 a.m. set calls, the morning after his 45-year-old body spent the day high in the saddle or hanging from a crane.

"My bones were cracking every morning," Banderas says by phone from Spain, where he's enduring a different kind of pain - arranging the international financing for a coming-of-age movie he plans to direct.

"The Legend of Zorro" reteams Banderas with "Mask of Zorro" leading lady Catherine Zeta-Jones and director Martin Campbell. Zorro is now married to Zeta-Jones' take-no-guff Elena and spends his days in retirement, tending to his 10-year-old son. But Zorro isn't exactly the retiring type, and he's soon off doing battle for the newly minted state of California, creating a riff with Elena in the process.

"Zorro is going to find problems in his own house," Banderas says. "That's what I like about these movies - the times


when Zorro is human, when he's failing in front of people. That's when I have the most fun. When the mask goes on ... well, it's been done before."

Yes, it has. So why did it take so long for Banderas to put that mask on again?

"Truthfully, after the first one, I thought that was it," Banderas says. "No one talked about a sequel. But the movie did well, and I knew sooner or later the studio would come back to the idea. I just hope they don't wait another seven years if they want another one. I'd hate to hear what my bones would sound like then."

Glenn Whipp, (818) 713-3672 glenn.whipp@dailynews.com



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