10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Mask of Zorro
There is nothing more fun than watching a man turn from a piece of crap into a hero right before our eyes. The origin story; it’s something that we’ve seen from every single superhero franchise for the past 20 years. Hell, we’ve seen it from Spider-Man twice and we’re probably going to get another one in a couple of years.
Last week I talked about my love for the film The Phantom. It’s a super entertaining film dealing with a character that spans generations. It appeals to both young and old. A character very much like Zorro, in fact.
The Mask of Zorro was several years in the making. It was actually several decades in the making if you consider that it was a story meant to be seen on the silver screen and it had not be so in quite a few years. It just so happens that in the year 1998, two years after The Phantom hit the screen, Director Martin Campbell brought the legendary character to the screen in blockbuster fashion. Here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Mask of Zorro.
1. Steven Spielberg was set to direct with Tom Cruise starring. He was unable to take on the film as a director because of Saving Private Ryan but he did executive produce.
2. The opening sequence with the firing squad attempting to kill the peasants was written by Steven Spielberg. You can see some very classic Spielberg-ian moves during that scene.
3. Martin Campbell finally took over the directorial duties from Robert Rodriguez. Robert wanted a more grounded and violent film. The finished product did use many of the sets, locations, and crew that Rodriguez had planned on using.
4. Actors who were offered roles or turned down roles: Sean Connery, Shakira, Raul Julia, Robert Rodriguez, Andy Garcia, Salma Hayek, Izabella Scorupco, Benicio Del Toro, Marc Anthony, Joaquin de Almeida, Chayanne, Sam Shepard, Lance Henriksen, Edward James Olmos, Scott Glenn, Giancarlo Giannini.
5. When they were discussing the themes of the film and the pace of the action to be used, they looked very closely at Raiders of the Lost Ark.
6. Legendary sword trainer Bob Anderson – who trained Errol Flynn – remarked that Antonio Banderas was the most gifted swordsman he had worked with since Flynn. Antonio worked with the Spanish Olympic team for 4 months before filming started.
7. Anthony Hopkins was filming the sweet ass film The Edge when he was offered the role. He had sustained a back injury at some point and had to turn down this role. It wasn’t until he got a few days off from The Edge that he was able to have a laser surgery on his back and he immediately felt it was possible for him to take on the role.
8. Antonio was very adamant that he do as many of the stunts as possible. The only stunt that he wasn’t able to do was when Zorro was standing on the horse and jumped over the fallen log. That was a crazy stunt man.
9. Director Martin Campbell says that 8o% of the scenes are shot on location. He laughs when people think that the massive mining scenes at the end of the film look like they’re matte or CGI shots. They spent a considerable amount of time getting those sets built and it’s a real testament to how great they looked in scale that people thought that they had to be fake.
10. There was an ending where General Santa Anna showed up to get his gold but instead he found Zorro with all of the rescued peasants. Santa Anna allowed them to all go back to the village and Zorro to leave in peace with his lady friend, Elena.