1706160274 Zorro a new take on the Masked Man to bring

“Zorro,” a new take on the Masked Man to bring a classic superhero into the 21st century

The gardens of La Marquesa, a land in Gran Canaria where tropical vegetation abounds and where roosters and peacocks roam freely, were flooded with more than 200 technicians in September 2022 to film Zorro, the series that Amazon Prime Video premiering this Thursday, January 25th, will be broadcast publicly by La 1 from Sunday the 28th. It's about reinventing the story of the beloved hero in a new version that captures the cultural diversity of the historical moment that California experienced in 1830, but this time confirms a current feminism. in line with the 21st century. In a context in which television and cinema revisit classics such as The Little Mermaid with the black actress Halle Bailey or the Lord of the Rings universe to offer more diverse versions, the creators of Zorro are part of this trend, as they commented. to EL PAÍS in the locations of this adventure story.

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The series' screenwriter and creator, Carlos Portela (Velvet, The Cable Girls), started from the question: “Which Zorro do we want to make in 2022?” This masked hero comes from a literary and cinematic tradition that began in 1919, when the American pulp magazine Argosy published the first comic strip of the character created by Johnston McCulley. Since then, numerous film and television adaptations have followed over the decades of the 20th century. David Cotarelo, one of the producers, explains why they wanted to break with the image that the protagonist had until now: “Based on Banderas' and the previous films, we associate Zorro with a smart, flirtatious guy, rightly so.” That's what we do now sexist. “We wanted to escape all that and use this symbol to tell a story after Me Too with different codes.”

The actors Miguel Bernardeau and Renata Notni are Diego de la Vega and Lolita Márquez in the series “Zorro”.The actors Miguel Bernardeau and Renata Notni are Diego de la Vega and Lolita Márquez in the series “Zorro”.

The independence and strength of the female characters was one of the key factors that needed to be taken into account when modernizing the story, Portela and Cotarelo explain. Javier Quintas, director of the successful La casa de papel, also participates in the direction of Zorro and admits that the feminist values ​​of our century are changing: “They may still be a bit anachronistic because the series is set in 1830, but “They are empowered women whose actions are essential to the plot.” Renata Notni, the actress who plays Lolita Márquez, the romantic interest of Diego de la Vega (Zorro), adds that her character goes beyond even that description and gives up the connection to Diego to take on a role of her own: “Lolita She has changed, she knows what she wants and she doesn't wait for someone to save her. On the contrary, she takes a shotgun and defends herself, even blowing Diego's hat off his head when necessary, telling him: “You don't defend me, nor do you vote for me.” “I'll do it if I want.”

indigenous activism

Another important character is that of Nah Lin, an indigenous warrior who will fight for what she believes is right and who, according to the series' creator, “stands on a par with and even above Zorro and is a mirror in which” “He is seeing himself reflected.” In this version, Zorro is an inherited title. The first chapter begins when Diego de la Vega returns from his military training in Spain, having learned of the death of his father, whose strange circumstances he will investigate. Nah Lin is the sister of the deceased former Zorro and feels like the legitimate heir to the title, but the spirits choose not her, but Diego. She is played by Dalia Xiuhcoatl, a Mexican actress and activist who admires the script work: “The series moves away from stereotypes about indigenous peoples and shows very well that the white man's justice is not always the justice of the oppressed.”

The new version of “Zorro” puts more emphasis on Native Americans. The new version of “Zorro” puts more emphasis on Native Americans.

Another of Portela's priorities was to open the Zorro universe to the indigenous people, but also to the Chinese, Russians and English who lived together in the turbulent and multicultural California of the 19th century. Miguel Bernardeau, a Spanish actor who plays this new Zorro, comments during a break in filming that he hired his sister's history teacher to better understand what was happening in California at the time: “It's a busy time, very busy. “Mix. The culture shock is very interesting and is reflected in the script.”

Bernardeau agrees with the creators: his character also reflects 21st century masculinity. “He is a Zorro who cries, who makes mistakes and who starts the season very young but grows up at the end.” The elite actor, who has always been a fan of the masked hero – “I have appeared in several carnivals as he disguised” – explains that he flatly refused to give Diego a Mexican accent: “I told them from the start that if she wanted a Mexican accent. They caught a Mexican actor. But it doesn't seem incongruous to me that Diego is Spanish.” He doesn't seem that way to his co-stars either. On the contrary, Notni believes that this is “an interesting proposal that refreshes history.”

Miguel Bernardeau plays Zorro in the new version of the masked hero.Miguel Bernardeau plays Zorro in the new version of the masked hero.

All these changes that the new version brings also bring the character closer to a new generation that has not yet met the swordsman hero. And for this, Quintas believes, we must adapt to the new way of consuming content by young people on platforms: “The challenge is to bring it to young people without losing sight of the lifelong fans, which Marvel is very keen on well.” In fact, he’s not the only one who mentions the giant among superheroes. Portela explains that he was inspired by Marvel or DC series to write quick scripts and assures that the longest scene does not exceed three pages.

Cotarela highlights the importance of the comic aesthetic in the series: “We wanted to adopt a slightly more mannerist aesthetic, playing with the language of the comic, with the light, the colors… The actors adopt postures reminiscent of the comic style. “ .” . Also, like Marvel, they placed great emphasis on the quality of the action. The actors of “Lolita Márquez”, “Nah Lin” and “Diego de la Vega” say that they had to learn to ride a horse, train with weapons, master the whip and do stunts that were so risky , that even Bernardeau's double broke his pelvis.

During these exceptionally rainy September days due to Tropical Storm Hermine, the gardens of La Marquesa and other places in the Canary Islands were transformed into Los Angeles at the beginning of the 19th century. “Quiet, damn it, quiet! “Actors need concentration,” claims the assistant director as everyone prepares for the umpteenth take of the scene. A rooster crows in the distance and we have to repeat it again.

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