Steven Spielberg Predicted Mask Of Zorro Would Be One Of The Last Practical Westerns

When Steven Spielberg talks about the future of the film industry, you would do well to listen. Much like he foresaw a lot of our current day predicaments concerning movie theaters in 2013, Spielberg knew “The Mask of Zorro” was one of the last of its kind during filming. In an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment to mark the film’s 25 year anniversary, Banderas recalled:

“Steven Spielberg said to me once when we were shooting, ‘This is probably going to be one of the last Westerns shot in the way the Westerns were shot in the old days, with real scenes with real horses, where everything is real, [real] sword fighting, no CGI.’ Everything was [practical].”

“And he said, ‘But things are going to change. They’re going to change and they’re gonna change fast. And so you should be proud of this movie,'” Banderas added. “And I am, probably even more now than at the time that I was doing it.” Of course, acclaimed films like the “3:10 to Yuma” and “True Grit” remakes would keep the practical-heavy approach to Westerns alive over the decade that followed, yet they were noticeably lower budgeted affairs than “The Mask of Zorro.” Then came the costly misfires that were “Cowboys & Aliens” and Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” which tried to remain faithful to the practical tradition while at the same time using CGI to enhance their set pieces and realize their more fantastical elements. 

If anything, the practical Western’s decline makes it all the easier to appreciate “The Mask of Zorro” looking back. “It was a very beautiful adventure movie with a lot of ingredients that made it shine in a very beautiful way. I have nothing but good memories,” said Banderas. So do we.

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