Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, ...
Credit: The Legend of Zorro: Andrew Cooper

It’s been seven long years since Alejandro de la Vega — a.k.a. Zorro — swished his last Z, but you don’t need to tell Antonio Banderas. ”My trailer was like a pharmacy,” groans the 45-year-old actor of his second outing as the sexy swashbuckler. ”Sword fighting, horseback riding, being suspended in a crane for 40 minutes over the ground…I had every type of cream you can possibly imagine.”

Banderas can send his first-aid bill to Sony, which took its sweet time before franchising 1998’s The Mask of Zorro. ”Funnily enough, after the first one [which grossed $94.1 million domestically] there was no talk of a sequel even though it was sort of successful,” says director Martin Campbell, who brought back most of his original crew for Legend‘s blistering five-month shoot in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Set in 1850, on the verge of California’s contentious entry into the Union, Legend picks up a decade after the original left off, and things are not feliz in the de la Vega household. His crime-fighting wings clipped, Banderas’ Alejandro is bored, he’s an absentee father to his 10-year-old son, and his marriage to the feisty Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is in trouble. Thus, when a new villain (Rufus Sewell) threatens and his wife mysteriously abandons him, the rapier-wielding hero readily re-dons his black mask to fight for both his state and his woman. Much leaping from buildings and sword fighting — a surprising portion of it by Zeta-Jones — ensues.

”Even though the movie’s called Zorro, it’s very much about the both of them,” says co-screenwriter Roberto Orci (The Island), who, with writing partner Alex Kurtzman, churned out the script’s first draft in a month and a half. ”[Although] Catherine was sort of discovered in the first movie, we knew from the beginning that we’d need to write something juicy enough so someone of her caliber would be interested in it.” Clearly, she gave her swash of approval.

The Legend of Zorro
  • Movie
  • 129 minutes