Some voices are immediately recognizable because they caress our ears like velvet. This is especially true with the voice of charming Duncan Regehr who played the mysterious, romantic and legendary hero, Zorro, in the 1990 – 1993 television series.
In addition to being an actor, Duncan is also a world renown artist who posesses an introspective view of existence, demonstrated in his unique art work. In part one of this interview with Duncan, the focus is on Zorro, shot in exotic Spain.
Did you find the script or did it find you?
“So long ago . . . it found me. I think at the time they’d already done a pilot that didn’t do too well. So they started looking around. I absolutely loved those years in Spain. It was fantastic to shoot there.”
Were you comfortable around horses?
“I learned to ride as a young person and actually had my own horses for a long time. I was a very experienced rider by the time I got there. They had wonderful horses of course, geldings and stallions. Toronado was played by three or four different horses.”
Did a stunt man do some of your stunts?
“I had a wonderful stunt guy, Ignacio Carreno. He was incredible because it was such a tough schedule and he would step in and do the stunts whenever I couldn’t be there, so it was great.”
When you put on the mask, how did it change you?
“You know, that’s part of the mystery of the mask. You start to put it on and it kind of takes over, it’s an instantaneous change. Of course you feel the mask and the cape, the entire costume with the sword balanced on one side. As you walk around the cape moves and it’s the full package.”
Was the cape hard to deal with?
“It was in the beginning. The first cape was incredibly long and no one in their right mind would ever try to have a sword fight with that thing on. It kept getting in the way all the time. You want me to jump off the balcony and grab the chandelier and swing across with the cape? You get ahold of the chandelier and the cape stays behind and you’re kind of hanging there swinging near the edge of the balcony. So we had to change that and make it shorter.”
Did you already know how to fence?
“I learned to fence at Strafford under Patrick Crane and learned stage fencing from him. The guy that really, really stepped everything up a pace was the late Peter Diamond. I’d worked previously with Peter on a movie called The Last Days of Pompeii, so when it came time to do Zorro, I said to Gary Goodman the producer, “There is only one man in the world that really knows how to do this and that is Peter Diamond.” We got Peter and he and I worked tirelessly on all our time off, to create routines and we absolutely had a set package that we could modify to whatever the situation was. The basic moves we did alter and dress up so that everything looked totally different each time.”
Jumping on tables, leaping about while sword fighting must be a challenge.
“That stuff all comes through rehearsal. You work it out so that it’s adaptable to certain sword moves as well, but you really have to know your sword moves to be able to do what is thrown at you on the new set of each day.”
Was anyone ever hurt during the production?
“No injuries, I think I just stabbed a few people by accident,” Duncan teased, then laughed. “Peter was really brilliant with all of it. Safety was first and he was fabulous with all of that – he just had a way of making you look good.”
You are obviously very athletic and were incredible as Zorro.
“That’s very kind of you to say, but I really have to give the credit to Peter who really did know how to do it. I remember this great wrestler we had on the show, Roddy Piper. We did this big fight scene and this guy was amazing, he made it look so easy, but he protected me from getting hurt and he used himself to make all the fight moves look brilliant. There were just many incredibly talented people on the set.”
Did you learn your lines easily?
“Once you get into the rhythm of the character and know how the character speaks, you learn it much more readily, but certainly with Zorro there was one type of speech and with Don Diego there was another type of speech.
There was all the technical jargon that went on in the Chemistry lab, which drove me crazy because I never knew what I was talking about. Chemical compounds, I didn’t know what they were.”
Next time, more with Duncan about Zorro and other roles he’s played. As you can see, he is very generous with giving everyone credit for the great success of Zorro and he is a most gracious man.