It’s not uncommon for Hollywood to take tried-and-true concepts and try to figure a way to add some new element or flip the story on its head. After all, as superhero movies have proven time and again, you can only watch the same story over and over before you start to develop an allergic twitch. It’s the Die Hard template: Die Hard on a cruise ship. Die Hard in a taxi cab. Die Hard in a space elevator. Or, if you’re feeling really crazy, Zorro after an asteroid flattens California.
That’s not a hypothetical. That’s the general premise behind Zorro Reborn, a project that’s been simmering in development hell for a couple of years now. As of last March, Mexican actor Gael García Bernal was going to play the titular man in black, and Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil was going to be at the helm. Now some less theoretical Zorro Reborn news has arrived in the form of some concept art and a leaked concept trailer, which even had voiceover from Jon Voight. Sadly it’s already been taken down, so we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got.
The art comes via ShowBizCafe.com, and they’ve also got a few more tidbits about the project. They reveal that the script by Glenn Gers, Stevie Long, Brian McGreevy, and Lee Shipman has since received rewrites by Justin Marks. He was a hot-shit up-and-coming screenwriter in recent years, having worked on geek-friendly scripts such as DC’s Suicide Squad and Supermax, video game adaptations Dead Space and Shadow of the Colossus, and one of the several 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movies that’s been in development for a dog’s age now. Sadly, his only produced film so far is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.
Here’s the gist of Zorro Reborn, via ShowBizCafe:
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.
So basically you get the time-tested Zorro story, but you get to spruce it up with some futuristic elements. Maybe give the guy a lightsaber, that’d make it easier to carve the Z everywhere. While the concept trailer is down, SBC does have a few animated gifs pulled from it, showing a body-armored Zorro leaping off rooftops and plunging a sword through a wall. It’s hard to get much of an impression from it, so hopefully the trailer will pop up elsewhere online at some point.
We can, however, get a sense of director Ricardo de Montreuil, thanks to his sci-fi thriller short The Raven, which you can watch below. It was shot for five grand, got Hollywood’s attention, and is in development at Universal Pictures. (Where one of the writers attached is, wait for it, Justin Marks.)
Weirdly enough, this is the second “classic character mixed with science fiction” we’ve reported on this week. The previous one was the upcoming CGI Tarzan that relocates Burroughs’ jungle lord to modern day and mixes in — oddly enough — another asteroid that an Evil Corporation wants to exploit. Must be something in the water out there.