Sofia Vergara Teams Up with Robert Rodriguez & Rebecca Rodriguez to Develop Modern Take on “Zorro” with Female Lead

Sofia Vergara isn’t masking her excitement for her latest project…

The 48-year-old Colombian actress has teamed up with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and his writer-director sister Rebecca Rodriguez to develop Zorro, a contemporary take on the classic masked vigilante character with a gender swap, for NBC. 

Sofia Vergara

The project’s creative team includes Vergara’s LatinWe production company, as well as Ben Siverman and Howard T. OwensPropagate. CBS Studios, where Propagate has a deal, will co-produce with Universal Television.

Co-written by the Rodriguezes and to be directed by Rebecca, Zorro centers on Sola Dominguez, an underground artist who fights for social injustice as contemporary version of the mythical Zorro. Her life is threatened by several criminal organizations after she exposes them.

Propagate set out to develop a television series re-imagining of Zorro with a female protagonist last season as one of the company’s first projects under its first-look deal with CBS Studios. The idea’s first incarnation, written by Alfredo Barrios Jr., also was set up at NBC.

Vergara and Silverman are frequent collaborators; they have teamed to produce together several projects over the past decade while Silverman was at Electus and after he joined Propagate, including the ABC drama series Killer Women.

Vergara received Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her starring role on ABC’s Modern Family. Her feature credits include the Warner Bros. buddy comedy Hot Pursuit, which she also produced. Additionally, she executive produced the Spanish version of Desperate Housewives.

Robert Rodriguez was attached to direct The Mask of Zorro and cast Antonio Banderas as the title role before leaving the feature project. In television, he developed and executive produced the series adaptation of his movie From Dusk Till Dawn for his television network El Rey and also executive produced the Spy Kids animated series offshoot for Netflix. He recently directed an episode of Disney+’s The Mandalorian

Rebecca Rodriguez’s recent directing credits include episodes of TNT’s Snowpiercer and Showtime’s The Chi.

A Band of Bitches Releases Desierto-Inspired Single “El Diablo Güero,” feat. Victoria Morales

A Band of Bitches is getting political…

The masked Mexican alternative group has released the single “El Diablo Güero,” a pro-immigrant, anti-Donald Trump song, featuring singer/songwriter and studio owner Victoria Morales.

A Band of Bitches

The funky pop-punk track was recorded to coincide with the current run in Mexican theaters of director Jonas Cuaron’s “migrant thriller,” Desierto, which will be the closing film at this year’s LA Film Festival.

The film, about Mexican workers trying to cross the border to the United States who are pursued in the desert by a murderous American vigilante (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It stars Gael Garcia Bernal, well-known to American viewers from the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle.

Morales wrote the bilingual song inspired by the film with Latin Grammy-nominated A Band of Bitches’ member Ushka at Cuaron’s request. “El Diablo Güero” is not, however, part of the film’s original soundtrack, whose layers of ominous and sublime music were composed by Woodkid.

“[Cuaron] sort of felt the need for [another] song that could really capture the entire film,” Morales told Billboard. “El Diablo Güero” was written and recorded in a few days, with production supervised by Cuaron at Morales’ Victoria Records Studio in Monterrey.

A Band of Bitches announced the debut of the new track alongside Cuaron and Morales at the Vive Latino festival in Mexico City; it was released to Mexican radio during the second week after the film premiered in theaters in April. The movie is still playing in Mexico.

The track samples lines from the film that Morales says had the most impact on her, particularly the words “welcome to the land of the free” spoken during one chilling scene.

Although journalists in Mexico have pointed out that the title could be a reference to Trump and his statements about Mexican immigrants, Morales maintains that it was the film’s American killer who inspired the song.

“In the end everyone is going to hear what they want to hear and make their own interpretation,” Morales says. “I think that it could become sort of an anthem, because of the relation of what’s happening in the United States and with the elections.”

Desierto is set for a commercial run on the U.S. sometime before the elections. A trailer for the film used an audio clip of Trump’s infamous Mexican “rapists” comment.

Cuaron, the son of Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), will next write and direct the Zorro sequel Z, also starring Garcia Bernal.

García Bernal Selected as Lead in Zorro Reboot

Gael García Bernal is the ultimate swashbuckler…

The 37-year-old Mexican American actor will star as the iconic lead character in a film entitled Z, the reboot of Zorro.

Gael Garcia Bernal

Garcia Bernal will come together again with filmmaker Jonás Cuarón for the project. Set in the near future, Z re-imagines the classic legend based on the beloved masked swashbuckler.

Cuarón’s Desierto, which stars García Bernal, will be released by STX Entertainment later in the year.

The project is written and will be directed by Cuarón and is eyeing a fall start at the Pinewood Dominican Republic studios.

García Bernal, who won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in his role in the Amazon series Mozart In The Jungle, was also in The Motorcycle Diaries and Babel.

The picture is being done as a co-production between Lantica Pictures and Mark Amin’s Sobini Films.

“I have always loved Gael for this role,” said Amin, who is producing with Lantica’s Albert Martínez Martín. “Zorro is a hero who is charming, witty and clever. Gael possesses all those characteristic and he’s able to deliver them with a modern spin to introduce the Zorro character to a new audience.”

Banderas to Receive Honorary Goya Award for His “Stellar Career”

Antonio Banderas has earned an extra special prize…

The Spanish Film Academy will honor the 54-year-old Spanish actor with an honorary Goya Award for the organization calls a “stellar career on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Antonio Banderas

The academy’s board of directors unanimously voted to honor Banderas for having “developed a versatile trajectory as an actor, have shown his own point of view as a director and having immersed himself in the role of producer to support national values.”

Calling him a hometown-Malaga boy “without borders,” the academy applauded his career punctuated by “risks and commitment.”

Banderas rose to acclaim in some of the most exemplary roles in Pedro Almodovar’s earlier works like Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, Labyrinth of Passion, Matador, Law of Desire and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

But he also forged a successful career in Hollywood with films like Zorro, Shrek, Philadelphia, Desperados and Interview with a Vampire.

Banderas, who has directed the films Crazy in Alabama and Summer Rain, recently returned to Spain with his latest Spanish project, the apocalyptic science fiction Automata, which he presented at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.

Banderas is currently filming Hugh Hudson’s The Master of Altamira alongside Rupert Everett and Golshifteh Farahani.

Banderas’ special presentation will take place next February at Spain’s premiere film gala in Madrid.

Fernández Leads the Pack at Skate Canada by a Quad (Toe Loop)

Javier Fernández López is proving to be a quad star…

The 21-year-old Spanish figure skater stands atop the leader board at Skate Canada International after landing a textbook quad toe loop during his short program.

Javier Fernandez

Fernández – the first Spanish skater to win a Grand Prix medal when he won silver at last year’s Skate Canada International – leads the pack with a score of 85.87.

Canada’s Patrick Chan, last year’s winner and a two-time world champion, scored 82.52 points for his program choreographed by former world champion Jeff Buttle, and set to music by Rachmaninoff. Japan’s Nobunari Oda was third with 82.14.

Coached by Canadians Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson, Fernández’s Zorro-themed short program was choreographed by David Wilson.

Fernández will next perform his Charlie Chaplin-themed free skate on Sunday to see if he can pull off the upset and defeat Chan, who was third after a sloppy short program last year at Skate Canada before roaring back to win the title.

Fernández , who represented Spain at the 2010 Winter Olympics, is also the first Spaniard to medal at a Grand Prix Final when he won bronze in 2011.

Garcia Bernal to Wield Zorro’s Sword on the Big Screen

Move over Antonio Banderas! There’s a new Zorro in town… And, his name is Gael Garcia Bernal.

20th Century Fox has tapped the 33-year-old Mexican actor to take on the role of the masked Spanish outlaw in the upcoming Zorro Reborn.

Gael-Garcia-Bernal

In the modern take on the Zorro films made popular by George Hamilton and Antonio Banderas, the movie will take place in the future during a desolate and post-apocalyptic time—not during the Spanish colonial era in the 18thcentury like in the original story.

“In this version, Zorro will be less a caped crusader for justice than a one-man vigilante force bent on revenge, in a western story that has echoes of both Sergio Leone and  No Country for Old Men,” explains the film’s producers.

No director has been hired for the project yet.

The Zorro story has been adapted into more than 40 films and several televisions series. The last film adaptation of Zorro was Michael Campbell‘s The Legend of Zorro, which starred Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Released in 2005, the film grossed more than $142, 4 million internationally.

Garcia Bernal has appeared in more than a handful of Oscar-nominated films, including The Motorcycle Diaries, where he portrayed Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

He’ll next appear in Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language comedy Casa de Mi Padre.