Women often give men a hard time, and Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is not
cutting slack for her husband Alejandro (Antonio Banderas). I mean, is it
too 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 stop
putting on his mask, leaping on his horse's back and saving every villager
in trouble, or else. But the threat of a divorce doesn't stop him.
full of himself. He just likes to be Zorro, like a movie star that goes over
the top," says Banderas, player of the hero who is not always super. "He's
clumsy and imperfect." And that adds a comic element to The Legend of
Zorro, the sequel to The Mask of Zorro. "The moment I read the script and
read that my wife is going to leave me, I said, 'Oh, this is comedy! He's
going to jump in a pool of tequila and we can make the character un-Zorro.'"
"The moment I read the script... I said, 'Oh, this is comedy!'"
- Antonio Banderas on Zorro's second big screen swashbuckle
Instead of drawing a linear, boring run-of-the-mill superhero with a
solution to every problem, director Martin Campbell chose to depict a human
character who reacts like any man would when he sees his ex-wife dating the
newcomer in town, a French aristocrat who is, Zorro claims, more than meets
Armand (Rufus Sewell) is in fact the secret leader of the Knights
of 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 of
France of that time - educated, polite, who can impress a woman with this
Even though Zorro is set in 1850, when California wasn't yet a state,
the theme is quite relevant to modern times. Besides her relationship
problems, Elena takes action into her own hands. "Catherine takes a big
chunk of the move, which is perfect, because the movie is more based on
family now ... besides the story with the French guy!" He laughs. "He's pissed
and he tries to recover himself, his wife, his kid and the mission is to be
a father, more than to be Zorro, basically."
Adrian Alonso, the young
Mexican actor who plays Zorro's son Joaquin, almost upstaged the Spanish
star. "He's a natural actor. He didn't take any direction at all," Banderas
says of his 10-year-old co-star, who didn't even speak English. "He did the
movie phonetically. It was familiar to me, because that's how I did my first
movie in America, Mambo Kings."
"If we're going to do a sequel, we're going
to wait seven years..."
- Antonio Banderas needs some R&R
Should we expect to see the young Adrian
as 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 old
and going away, and there's a young boy that's my son, grown up." But the
producers, including Steven Spielberg, saw the possibility of another and
reshot the ending. "So I think that will be in the fourth (film), not in
the next one." A third film will recount the genesis of Zorro: "There was talk about a prequel, about the creation of Zorro, how
the character gets born."
But Antonio Banderas isn't in a rush to get back
to the Zorro studios just yet. "If we're going to do a sequel, we're going
to wait seven years, because I don't know if I can assume the amount of
risk." The filming of The Legend of Zorro proved hectic, filmed in the old-fashioned
'blood, sweat and tears' way. "The physical side was extraordinarily
difficult," 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 was
because the script was pushing a little more in that direction and also
because 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 be
consumed. I think this will bring a new flavour to Zorro."
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