Sony Hires Writer for Gritty ‘Zorro’ Reboot in the Style of ‘The Dark Knight’

Published 1 year ago by , Updated March 7th, 2014 at 8:41 am,

Sony Making Gritty Zorro Reboot Sony Hires Writer for Gritty Zorro Reboot in the Style of The Dark Knight

While Sony’s The Mask of Zorro was a huge success back in 1998 – and is largely considered to be a great action movie to this day – its 2005 followup, The Legend of Zorro, made significantly less money and was pretty much universally panned (perhaps it’s no coincidence that the first film was wall-to-wall stunt-work and the second film depended more heavily on CGI).

In the time since, Zorro’s modern-day counterpart, Batman, has enjoyed incredible cinematic success – box office, reviews, you name it – at the hands of Christopher Nolan, and is set to make a return to the big screen with Batman vs. Superman in 2016. Sony executives, no doubt yearning for a piece of that box office pie, have hired a someone to write a gritty Zorro reboot in the style of The Dark Knight.

According to Deadline, Sony has hired playwright Chris Boal to pen the reboot. He has yet to be attached to a completed film, though apparently he’s already written three scripts for films in development: Old Man’s War, Vanguard, and Caesar.

In the words of Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr., the Zorro reboot will be:

“[L]ess traditional swashbuckler, and more of a ‘Dark Knight’-style unveiling of the character with a new backstory, gritty realism and emotional core. There will be swordplay, combined with the martial arts that came from Europe and created a deadly combination of action and lethal fighting systems that combined swords, daggers, grappling and bare knuckles.”

It should be pointed out that the last good iteration of Zorro – as in, The Mask of – also had an emotional core. (16-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT.) Anthony Hopkins, the original Zorro, watched as his wife was killed and his baby daughter was taken from him, and he was subsequently thrown in prison for two decades a la The Count of Monte Cristo. Likewise, his successor, Antonio Banderas, was on a mission of revenge to find the man who murdered his brother. Which is all to say, it was not a completely fluffy affair.

Dark Knight Returns Featuring Mark of Zorro Sony Hires Writer for Gritty Zorro Reboot in the Style of The Dark Knight

From Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’

As to the connection to The Dark Knight – Batman fans are probably well aware that the character was heavily inspired by Zorro. In fact, depending on the continuity, Bruce Wayne himself was inspired in the Batman comics by the classic 1940 film The Mark of Zorro, which he and his parents saw a screening of the night Bruce became an orphan. So it’s not exactly a surprise that a Zorro reboot would be reminiscent of the The Dark Knight franchise.

Of course, the last time we heard about a Zorro reboot, a modern-day Zorro TV series was said to be heading to the USA Network. And before that, Warner Bros. was developing Zorro Reborn, which would’ve been set in the post-apocalypse for some reason. We haven’t heard anything about either project for a while, so it’s anyone’s guess if they’re still in the works (though Zorro Reborn seems particularly unlikely at this point).

Christian Bale Talks Playing Batman in Dark Knight Rises and Working with Heath Ledger Sony Hires Writer for Gritty Zorro Reboot in the Style of The Dark Knight

Seeing as Zorro reboots don’t have a very good track record for getting out of development hell, you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up for a gritty Dark Knight-esque reboot anytime soon (at least until there’s some real movement on it). That said, we can probably expect one at some point down the line – it’s just too valuable a brand for studios to let it slip into the ether forever.

What say you, Screen Ranters? What do you think about the possibility of a Zorro reboot in the vein of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy? Drop us a line in the comments.


Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more Zorro reboot news as it becomes available.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: Deadline

Follow Ben Moore on Twitter @benandrewmoore
TAGS: Zorro
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  1. I liked the swashbuckliness of the recent Zorro films.
    Could be good, Ill watch it regardless.

    • “Swashbuckliness”…hey, now there’s a new word for the dictionary…kinda like it!
      I would cautiously welcome a good rendition of this. Serious, yes. Dark, mmm, don’t know about that, maybe not too dark, just not humorous.

      When I was a little kid, besides comic book superheroes, some of my very early heroes were Zorro, along with Tarzan, Jungle Jim, Bomba the Jungle Boy, and later, the Green Hornet. I remember also being thrilled when I first discovered Doc Savage. Of course, there are many more heroic venues for young minds today, but I was born in 1957, so I was still a knee-biter in the 60s.

      • The Green Hornet? You must have been soooo disappointed with the Seth Rogen film. I actually turned it off and never bothered watching the end of it. I believe it was the only movie in which I actually wanted the “hero” to die…

  2. Reboot in the Style of ‘The Dark Knight’

    One question…. “Why so serious?”

  3. - Who are you?
    - I am Zorro.

    - I will be the one California want me to be.

  4. Well, obviously if it’s well-written it could turn out good, but my only concern is that they’ll be too focused on making it ‘serious’ and ‘gritty’ or ‘dark’ that they take some of the fun out. TDK did serious things but it had its fair share of laughs.

    And I really like Mask of Zorro. It’s a good sign that it still holds up today. It had just the right amount of swashbuckling and humour and it was balanced really well with the serious parts and the ‘emotional core’. It doesn’t look campy at all today.

  5. Of course now everyone wants to be Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight. But how exactly could they make it be as relevant as the DK trilogy? First it’d have to be setup in a contemporary setting; that alone would wind up turning Zorro in a generic flick.

    • I don’t understand why you believe it would have to be set up in a contemporary setting?

      Saving Private Ryan, for example, was grittier than Nolan’s Batman could ever hope to be, and that was a period piece.

      • Actually it was a period of War. (bu-du-ss)

        • At Dark Night Rises was not supposed to be a “war”, of sorts?

          Zorro could not be set during a conflict?

          Contemporary has nothing to do with how good a film is.

  6. I think the final product could be good, but the whole “let’s make it like TDK because that was awesome” thinking is beginning to worry me. It seems like everyone is trying to go for this ‘darker than the last one” approach for reboots. Wasn’t there mention of a gritty and dark Short Circuit remake?

    It’s like this approach is being applied to things regardless of whether it is relevant to the source material. I can see a dark interpretation of Zorro working, but I’ve gotta ask… why bother?

    I agree with Nick, they shouldn’t overlook the laughs that can come from the character and his charisma in order to search for some TDK clone. Chris Nolan got the balance right, but so many ‘darker’ versions of things turn out to be a bit boring.

  7. Please no more dark and gritty. I thought we got over that in the recent years. I mean Zorro IS all about swashbucking and adventure, it’s what separates him from his copy, Batman. Take that away, and you’re making a copy of Batman.

    • Spring-Heeled Jack to Zorro to Shadow to Batman

      • to Iron Man?

    • You can have swashbuckling adventure in a gritty movie. The problem is that writers in Hollywood tend to make things like Zorro too campy and fun and it just ends up looking corny and pointless but if it’s too serious, it can become a little too much to bear at times.

      They should take cues from Spartacus: Blood And Sand and its prequel and sequel seasons because it was gritty and realistic but also had moments of pure, unadulterated madness and joy.

      Hell, The Amazing Spider-Man finally gave us a decent movie version of the character by making it darker and grittier but also was several hours of fun and laughs. The same thing with The Wolverine from Fox Studios plus Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World from Disney/Marvel.

      • I didn’t see anything that was ‘gritty’ in The Amazing Spider-Man. I know people think that was a much better movie than the first one with Tobey Maguire, but in terms of ‘dark’ or ‘gritty’…neither one of those movies approached either of those words.

      • Iron Man 3 was dreck, especially compared to the first one. Amazing Spiderman was filmed in LA, outside in LA. The upcoming sequel looks so much better. Grittier because it was actually filmed in NY state.

  8. If Sony want to copy TDK success then need to hire Chris Nolan, not Boal.


    • I recently read the 2009 Wired interview with Alan Moore, who commented about his intentions in writing Watchmen in the 80′s. He meant a lot of things, but he never meant for it to become the major psychological roadblock that no body could apparently get over. Now, every comic book fan can comment that comics in the 90′s largely imitated Watchmen and TDKReturns, or at least the violence therein.

      Now, it seems that The Dark Knight — and it’s always The Dark Knight, not Batman Begins — has become that same stumbling block to movies. HOWEVER, that may be simplifying things a bit.

      You can’t leave off the fact that these are films, not comics, and when the movie is being pitched, both to executives and also to the public who would buy it, they’re trying to obtain that mammoth budget and the audience to pay for it. So, one could argue that a lot of this is production lip service. “Oh it’s Zorro, plus The Dark Knight. It’s a win because audiences buy that kind of film, and fans of Batman will know that young Bruce loved Zorro, so… $300 million? Great!”

      If you want a real Zorro in the vein of The Dark Knight, ignore the Dark Knight and look at Man On Fire. Set Zorro in the modern day against cartels in the ever conflicted nation of Mexico. THEN ask, “Why so serious?”

      • What’s more, this is Sony. They already had succeeded in rebooting Spider-Man “in the style of TDK”. Of course they’ll try again with another property.

        As for a Zorro TV series, I’m sure that could work if Arrow could at all, but for some reason it hasn’t happened. The WB post-apocalypse Zorro sounds…terrible, so of course that didn’t happen.

      • A Batman comic set in Mexico City could be insanely good. Mexico City is way more like the original Gotham from back in the day.
        So many new directions to take it. Is DC hiring, if not they need to do this.

        • In the 70′s, I’m sure there was a Batman story set in Mexico. It would’ve been after Bob Kane left, and probably in the Neall Adams era.

          • Not a storyline set in Mexico, you misunderstand me.

  10. Zorros parents get shot in front of him after seeing a batman movie.

    • Will Ferrell as Zorro.

      “I’m actually 100% Mexican… *shrugs*”

      • @ not Ben
        You’ve watched Casa Mi Padre didn’t you ?

    • ^ This. PRICELESS!!!

  11. Screenranters? That’s what we are now?

  12. Zorro was my life until now. I really really looking forward to the reboot. I want them to make a Zorro trilogy just like batman trilogy.

  13. Like the Long Ranger, Zorro needs to be left alone in peace…..

  14. They should have quit on Zorro once “The Gay Blade” came out. You can’t take this character seriously anymore. Granted, that was over 30 years ago, but a classic is a classic. Sir Bunny Wigglesworth!

  15. “What say you, Screen Ranters?”

    I say that ‘gritty’ must be the new synonym for ‘dark’, and peace, as in “yearning for a peace”, should actually be spelled ‘piece’.

  16. You want a modern day Zorro watch Batman Begins. I think that’s the mentality that Nolan and Goyer went in with when they opted for the “grounded” approach. Both of the these character’s archetype overlap so I wouldn’t be surprised if that that was the case. Glad someone else was savvy enough to make that connection. Only on screenrant.

    • Only on screenrant. lol, have you ever talked to anyone who reads Batman?

  17. The day dark and girtty reboots die off is a day that can not come soon enough.

  18. IMO, the best incarnation of Zorro was the Disney show starring Guy Williams. I watched it as a kid and it was ancient even then, but it’s still my favorite. I’m looking forward to seeing a darker Nolanesque version.

  19. Oh and a fun fact: Batman was inspired by Zorro who was in turn inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel. Maybe one day we’ll see a Pimpernel reboot?

  20. So I guess were just gonna throw “Dark Knight style” and Chris Nolan-esque in front of EVERYTHING to get some attention now? Think about it. You could throw that in front of ANY remake and it would draw interest. I can see it now ….Weekend At Bernies: In the style of the Dark Knight, Titanic: in the style of the Dark Knight, Critters: The dark Knight edition.

    come on son!

  21. zorro could easily be remade but not in todays world. if a reboot does get produced it would still have to be in the past to be any good, not the present or future

  22. It’s gotten to the point where I dry heave when I read ‘dark’, ‘gritty’, and ‘the dark knight’.

  23. I personally think the executives at Sony are idiots. They could have beat the gritty Dark Knight to the punch. As I understand it, it wasn’t their idea to do a Zorro movie in the first place. Director Robert Rodriguez came to them with the idea to do a Zorro movie staring Antonio Banderas. The problem, Rodriguez pitched a darker, grittier Zorro. They liked the idea of a Zorro movie with Banderas, but didn’t like the idea of a darker, grittier Zorro. They didn’t have the BALLS to do it! So they made the lighter funnier Zorro. They could have set the standard before The Dark Knight! Now they want to go back and do a darker, grittier Zorro as if it was there idea? Rodriguez should be suing!

  24. This needs to happen!

  25. you all sure they’re not remaking the old George Hamilton Zorro ?? … lol