international movie-goers so spoiled by special effects-driven
event pictures show up as American audiences did this past
summer for a classic-style action flick bolstered by
high-flying, horse-hopping stunt work, delicious battles of the
spoken and sword variety, and a good deal of romance?
a mystery, Antonio Banderas replies,
after lengthy consideration. The Mask of Zorro is a
real action movie. Will children go? I dont know. Thats
the mystery for me... to find out if people buy the story of
Zorro. I do think that anybody who was a kid 30, 40 or 50 years
ago, who grew up with or were followers of Zorro in the old films
and on the TV show will probably like the movie.
Anthony Hopkins as Don Diego de la Vega, a gentleman renowned as
the masked, Z-carving alter-ego, hero of the Mexican populace.
Escaping prison after 20 years, de la Vega meets Alejandro Murieta
(Banderas). Far too aged to don Zorros mask anew, de la Vega
reinvents Murieta as Zorro.
who was raised in Spain watching the TV Zorro
marvelled at the films good fortune when Hopkins turned down
the media titan role played by Jonathan Pryce in Tomorrow
Never Dies in order to play De la Vega.
a luxury to have in the movie and he was unbelievable. I knew from
the moment he said yes that the movie would be even more special,
Banderas says. I was pretty scared before I met him because
Id always admired him and knew his reputation. When he
arrived on set he was like a kid. He confessed to me that he was
tired of playing all these psychological characters. He played
with his sword and had so much fun. It was gorgeous to see this
60-year-old man act like he was an 18-year-old, brand new actor."
latest swashbuckler also has plenty of praise left over for the
lovely Zeta Jones. Catherine has one of the most beautiful
faces in town. Nobody looks better in close-up. She makes me think
of Claudia Cardinale and other stunning actresses from the 1960s.
At the same time, shes got an incredible sense of humour.
That combination makes her an interesting person, an interesting
actress, and very fun to work with.
Zeta Jones lets out a sigh. I dont know about
being a sex symbol or anything like that. Id rather do
without it all." That she has a web site devoted to her
simply called The Goddess points to her
modesty. The 29-year-old, who shot to fame in the popular Darling
Buds of May TV series, is one of Britains few genuine
pin-ups. Cutting a striking figure, her dark locks and rich brown
eyes draw you to her alluring pose, her smouldering features
lending her the look of a Forties movie star. And now shes
found a film that suits her down to the ground.
old-style return to the legend of the swordsman, The Mask of
Zorro brims with sexual tension. As the long-lost daughter of
Anthony Hopkinss elder Zorro, and the object of affection
for Antonio Banderas younger version of the crusader, Joness
Elena is no shrinking violet.
My character in Zorro is
essentially Wonder Woman
shes no damsel in distress.
With eight hours training a day (She calls it their Mexican
boot camp), all the tricks of the trade were learnt,
courtesy of one 70-year-old Bob Anderson, who also taught Errol
Flynn a thrust or two. Boasting that her sword left not one mark
on Banderass much-lusted after torso, the only injury came
in a dance sequence rehearsal when her watch took a chunk
out of his back.
Playing on the Latino lamour
that pervades the films atmosphere, Jones glints, I
think the sword fighting is like foreplay or something. Its
really quite sexy. Working with Antonio was in no way difficult.
The dancing was great, but the most enjoyment was when we did the
sword fighting. Me and Antonio had a great time we had
about four weeks to learn the choreography, but also to get to
know each other so that we could incorporate our sense of humours
into the scene.
Banderas, unsurprisingly, felt
much the same For me it was a pleasure to undress
Catherine Zeta Jones, I must say.