THE MASK OF ZORRO
About The Production
Although based on McCulley's well-known character, The Mask of Zorro is very different from previous interpretations of the story
Although based on McCulley's well-known character, The Mask
of Zorro is very different from previous interpretations of
the story. "Ours is not the traditional story of Zorro being
a nobleman's son," says Director Martin Campbell. "Our
story has much more to do with a Merlin/King Arthur type of relationship,
where an older Zorro trains a younger man to become his successor."
Campbell was attracted to the character of Zorro because he is
an anachronism in the '90s action genre-characterized by gratuitous
violence and a decidedly hard edge-who still generates excitement
and retains tremendous appeal. "Zorro is the perfect hero,"
says Campbell. "From a moral point of view, he doesn't go
out to kill as many bad guys as he can-he cleverly disables them,
embarrasses them and makes fools of them. I thought it would be
interesting to bring such a character to the screen today."
Adds MacDonald, "In this time of big special effects movies,
The Mask of Zorro seems strangely new." It is no accident
that The Mask of Zorro, which teams lightning-paced adventure,
daredevil stunts and acrobatic swordplay with drama, suspense,
classic romance, and a tender reunion story, evokes great adventure
films of the past. "I wanted this film to look like one of
those big Hollywood epics with tremendous action, romance, and
fun," says Campbell. "Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., had this
terrific sense of humor with the character, a real joie de vivre,
very dashing and funny. I wanted that for our film."
The actor whom all agreed was capable of bringing these qualities
to the production was Antonio Banderas. "Antonio has all
the attributes I wanted for Zorro," says Campbell. "He
is a very fine actor-dashing and physical as well-who easily conveys
compassion and has a great sense of humor. If ever there was a
perfect Zorro, it is Antonio." The filmmakers were ecstatic
when Anthony Hopkins agreed to join the cast as de la Vega. "Tony
Hopkins was the icing on the cake," says Producer Doug Claybourne.
Adds Campbell, "He's the nobility in the film. He brings
tremendous weight and depth to the character." Banderas was
equally thrilled about Hopkins. "To work with Anthony is
an honor for me," he says. "I was so nervous the first
few days that I couldn't stop my legs from shaking." Hopkins
returns the praise: "Antonio has endless ideas and tremendous
energy and enthusiasm. We had a lot of fun working together."
Catherine Zeta-Jones was cast in the role of Elena after Steven
Spielberg caught her on television in the miniseries, "The
Titanic." Many predict The Mask of Zorro will be her
breakout film. "I think she's going to be a major star,"
says Producer David Foster. "It is a tough role-very physically
and emotionally demanding. But Catherine can handle it."
Foster adds, "We are lucky to have an executive producer
named Steven Spielberg who brought her to our attention."
The Mask of Zorro was filmed entirely on location in Central
Mexico. Production began at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City
on January 27, 1997. Filming continued at the San Blas hacienda
outside the city of Tlaxcala; the Tetlapayac hacienda outside
Pachuca in the state of Hildago, the church of Santa Maria and
along the beaches of Guaymas before returning to Mexico City in
April. Principal photography was completed in May 1997.
"Initially, we began looking for<
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