Everyone knows masked avenger Zorro, aka Diego de la Vega, righting the wrongs while trying to keep his identity secret.
Then again, maybe they don’t.
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“I don’t think people were expecting this version of “Zorro.” It’s a completely new take, full of adventure, action, love and diversity,” Renata Notni tells Variety ahead of its Jan. 19 premiere in the Americas on Amazon Prime Video which bow the series in Spain on Jan. 25.
“Elite” alumni Miguel Bernardeau, now cast in the titular role, adds: “It has been a long time since his last incarnation. Before, Zorro used to be played by people who were older than Diego was supposed to be. Now, we really see his coming-of-age. He is figuring out who he wants to be as an adult. That’s something many people can relate to.”
Apart from Noti’s Lolita Marquez – his childhood sweetheart who grew tired of waiting – Diego also has to deal with Native American fighter Nah-Lin (Dalia Xiuhcoatl), convinced he has stolen what was rightfully hers.
“The inclusion of empowered female characters was so important. Now, it’s also their story,” says Bernardeau.
“I think in this version of ‘Zorro’ we are moving away from the past. All women in the show are very powerful. We are not expecting anyone to come and save us anymore. We are the heroes of our lives,” notes Noti.
“This new generation, and women in general, want to be represented – and deserve to be represented – just the way we are.”
Despite many hardships waiting for Diego as he returns to California in 1834 – “There are emotional moments, because he is going back home only to discover it’s different from what he thought,” says Bernardeau – humor is a big part of the show.
“I don’t think there was that much comedy between the main couple in previous versions of ‘Zorro’,” observes Noti.
“It’s important for a good story to have all these different shades. Comedy, action, adventure. People expect to see all that.”
Comedic moments “came naturally” to the duo, says Bernardeau. With both actors more than ready to show what happens when Diego and Lolita’s conflicting feelings finally come to a boil.
“We came up with their backstory too, one that takes place before the show. You have childhood friends who used to play together, but also two clashing personalities. They really love each other, but when you see the way Lolita treats – or even shoots! – Diego…. She makes sure he’s not being a smartass.”
All the bickering aside, “Zorro” is still very much an action spectacle.
“We did 90% to 95% of all the stunts,” assures Bernardeau. After the show’s bow at Mipcom back in October, he admitted action sequences “stopped being fun somewhere around the fifth month.”
“At first, we start with ‘retro’ action and in later episodes we expand into something more modern. It becomes more dynamic, more spectacular. We go from swords to whips to guns and it’s so entertaining to watch Zorro fight in all these different ways.”
Following a lengthy shoot in the Canary Islands – “It has been a long journey. [By the end] we became family,” shares Noti – as the show makes its streaming debut the expectations are high.
“With all these platforms, there are no boundaries anymore. Any show, from any country, can travel,” says Noti.
“Zorro” is produced by Secuoya Studios and directed by Javier Quintas, with Mediawan Rights handling international distribution.
“Cinema still holds a lot of power, but yes – the magic of this project is that it can really bring people together,” adds her co-star.
“I think we did a good job mixing action with comedy and it does feel epic, but it also talks about all these universal topics. I really believe everyone can connect with it. Our objective is to have whole families watching it together. It’s so important to bring people together this way.”
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