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Zorro will ride again.
Wilmer Valderrama is set to star in a new live-action Zorro TV series that is in development for Disney Branded Television. A network/platform for the Western has not yet been determined.
The potential series is being exec produced by Gary Marsh, the former Disney Channel president who was promoted last year to serve as creative chief at Disney Branded TV. Marsh, who has developed and overseen successful franchises for Disney including High School Musical, Lizzie McGuire, Hannah Montana and The Descendants, in September announced he was leaving the Mouse House at year’s end after a run of three decades. Marsh will exec produce Zorro via his new producing deal with Disney. John Gertz (The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro) will exec produce for Zorro Productions, which owns the rights to the famed swordsman.
“We’re reimagining this Disney classic as a compelling period piece, set in Pueblo de Los Angeles, but told in a very modern telenovela style — with richly drawn contemporary characters and relationships set against the action, drama, suspense and humor of the original, iconic Zorro,” said Ayo Davis, who was promoted to replace Marsh as president of Disney Branded Television. “Wilmer shares our commitment to reflect the interesting and rich diversity of the human experience, and we look forward to delivering a culturally relevant and entertaining story with definitional characters that will connect with our viewers for generations to come.”
Valderrama becomes the latest actor to take on the role of Don Diego de la Vega and his dashing, swashbuckling alter ego, the masked horseman named Zorro. Others include Antonio Banderas, Douglas Fairbanks, Robert Livingston and Guy Williams. More recently, NBC was developing a modern-day Zorro with a female lead that was exec produced by Robert Rodriguez and Sofia Vergara.
“Growing up, Zorro was the one character that made me, as a Latino, feel like I could be a hero. As an adult and a storyteller, I have a responsibility in the stories that I help bring to life,” Valderrama said. “To partner with Gary and Disney to bring Zorro back into the family after 60 years, and be a part of the legacy for other children to know they too can be the heroes of their own stories, is a dream come true.”
For his part, Valderrama currently voices Agustin in Disney’s Encanto and counts NCIS, That ‘70s Show and Disney’s Onward among his other credits. He’s repped by UTA and Silver Lining Entertainment.
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