Zorro: Robert Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, NBC Eye Female-Led Modern Take
Director Robert Rodriguez (Grindhouse, Desperado) is going from the "Star Wars" universe and bringing back one legendary character to NBC and bringing back another legendary character- and her adventures are going to be in some high-profile hands. On Thursday, the network announced that Rodriguez, writer-director Rebecca Rodriguez (Snowpiercer, The Chi), Sofia Vergara's (Modern Family) LatinWe production company, and Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens' Propagate are teaming up on a contemporary take on Zorro, with the series' masked vigilante to be played by a female lead (Deadline Hollywood first reported, exclusively).
Co-written by the brother/sister duo of Robert and Rebecca Rodriguez with Rebecca set to direct, Zorro centers on Sola Dominguez, an underground artist who fights for social justice as a contemporary version of the mythical Zorro. Her life is threatened by several criminal organizations after she exposes them. Robert Rodriguez and Rebecca Rodriguez executive produce with Silverman, Owens, Rodney Ferrell, Greg Lipstone, and Jay Weisleder for Propagate, Vergara and Luis Balaguer for LatinWe, Geoff Clark, Eric Bromberg, and John Gertz. CBS Studios is set to co-produce with Universal TV. The series represents Propagate's second attempt at a Zorro re-imagining with a female lead, with its first effort aimed at NBC with Alfredo Barrios Jr. writing.
During a virtual panel discussion from this past summer, Rodriguez discussed what it was like having to push for representation in his projects in the past. "It had just never been done before. When you're doing anything that's new — this just happens to be about diversity, but it could be anything — when you're doing anything new, you're gonna get questioned," he explained.
"And you have to have a good answer, because they're not being dicks or anything, they've just never seen it before. 'Is it gonna make the audience smaller?' People think only Latins will go see it. And it's just 'cause it had never been done before. I said, 'No, I don't think so, I mean they're only gonna speak Spanish as a kind of code when it's cool. And they are American, they're just Latin, 'cause it's based on my family.' It wasn't really convincing. I finally had to come up with a good argument," Rodriguez continued. "Finally, I said, 'OK, you don't have to be British to enjoy James Bond. By being so specific, it becomes more universal.' So, they went with it, then of course there's like four [Spy Kids films in the franchise] and now we're rebooting it. But you kind of had to put your flag in and set it in and say, 'This is how it's gonna be done' to make any change, 'cause there was no roles being written for Latins at that time, back in 1999, nor were they being cast."
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