It looks as though USA Network could be bringing a new spin to the character of Zorro in a series simply titled Z - like the trademark slash the hero leaves behind – which would feature a modern-day retelling of the character's origins and his ongoing battle against corruption and villainy.
According to Variety, the project is currently in development from Grimm executive producer Naren Shankar and Louis Leterrier - director of The Transporter 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk, and, most recently, Clash of the Titans. Should USA choose to pick up the series, Shankar would serve as showrunner, while Leterrier would apparently come on board to direct a handful of episodes.
Right now, the network is mulling over a decision on whether or not to pick Z up, in what is known as a script-to-series order. Reportedly, USA has been in possession of the first script for a few weeks now, and should they choose to move forward, Z would move directly into series production – bypassing the pilot stage altogether, like NBC did with Bryan Fuller's upcoming Hannibal series.
So far, nothing more than a basic synopsis of the series is known, but that serves to confirm the contemporary setting, give us with the name of the man who would become Zorro, and provide a cursory glance at his backstory. Apparently, Z would depict the journey of Diego Moreno, a modern-day Los Angelino who went from being an orphaned teenager, raising a sister with almost no supervision or help, to the legendary hero who fights to save the city. Admittedly, it's not much to go on, and most judgments will likely be saved for when, and if, production begins and we can catch a glimpse of what this modern-day Zorro will look like.
Of course, the design of the Zorro costume will likely be one of the most important elements for luring in potential viewers. Zorro's original looks was very much of a certain era; the hat, the cape and the sword were all very indicative of a specific time period, so chances are there will be some adjustments made to keep the L.A.-based criminals and corrupt officials from making annoying and hurtful comments about the hero's dated attire. Additionally, in a city of so much steel and concrete, it's not going to be cost-effective to keep ruining blades by marking such unforgiving surfaces with his trademark "Z," so perhaps one of the updates will be a utility belt that holds a can of CFC-free spray paint.
If it happens, Z would be one of several Zorro-related projects currently in the works, or languishing in development hell. Sony is reportedly still interested in rebooting its Zorro franchise, which once starred Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, while earlier this year, highly regarded actor Gael Garcia Bernal was linked to a futuristic retelling of the Zorro legend set against a post-apocalyptic backdrop, in Zorro Reborn.
Since the character's first appearance in 1919, Zorro has appeared in nearly a dozen American films, with actors ranging from the aforementioned Antonio Banderas to Douglas Fairbanks to even George Hamilton portraying the masked hero in one form or another. The character has a global appeal as well, having been seen in more than 30 films in Mexico and Europe, and has made appearances in several film serials, television and radio programs, and, of course, novels and comic books.
Considering the character's substantial appeal, as well as his incredible longevity, it seems like there are several reasons for USA to give Z a go. In any case, the network will likely have a decision regarding the series sometime early next year.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on all the news related to Z and other Zorro projects as it is made available.
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