EXCLUSIVE: The Cisco Kid is riding back to TV. CBS has put in development The Cisco Kid, a drama series re-imagening the iconic Latino character that is executive produced by Salma Hayek (Ugly Betty) and Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men).
Written by Diego Gutierrez (The Shield), The Cisco Kid is described as a modern day re-retelling of the classic story of a handsome outlaw and his faithful sidekick in the vein of Lethal Weapon. It follows Cisco as he returns to Los Angeles after serving several tours as a Marine in Afghanistan. After witnessing the murder of his father, Cisco and his best friend/fellow Marine, Sam, team up to solve the case and subsequently find themselves doing what the authorities can’t — defending the city’s oppressed and disenfranchised. Executive producing alongside Gutierrez are Hayek and Jose Tamez through their Ventanarosa production company, as well as Donners’ Co.’s Donner and Jack Leslie. CBS TV Studios is producing.
First introduced in O. Henry’s 1907 short story The Caballero’s Way, the Cisco Kid became a fixture of 20th century pop culture — a rare feat for a Latino character. He went on to headline more than dozen movies, beginning with the 1914 silent film The Caballero’s Way and most recently the 1994 TV movie starring Jimmy Smits as Cisco and Cheech Marin as his sidekick Pancho. The role won an Oscar for Warner Baxter, who played Cisco in several movies. The Cisco character also spawned radio shows, comic books as well as an oft-covered song by War. On TV, The Cisco Kid syndicated series starring Duncan Renaldo ran from 1950-56. CBS has been looking to do Latino-themed projects in the last few years with such efforts as drama series Cane and comedy Rob. This is the fourth high-profile reboot in the works at the network this season, which also has Beverly Hills Cop, from Shawn Ryan and Eddie Murphy; the Vince Vaughn-produced The Brady Bunch; and Have Gun, Will Travel, from David Mamet.
Gutierrez got his start working for Joss Whedon on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. He went on to work on The Shield, Without A Trace and Warehouse 13 and is currently developing Flesh And Bones for FX with Eli Roth and Eric Newman producing.
Donner’s features have grossed $4 billion worldwide. The Donners’ Co. is currently producing The Wolverine for Fox, as well as the upcoming sequel to X-Men: First Class: The Days Of Future Past. In TV, the company recently set up series project Laughs Unlimited at HBO to be written by Oren Moverman and Anthony Swofford.
For TV, Hayek and Tamez had been based at ABC Studios since 2006. Ventanarosa co-produced the ABC dramedy Ugly Betty as part of its goal to develop, produce and acquire mainstream projects that either draw on Latin themes or feature Latin talent, both in front of and behind the camera. In features, the company has produced such films as Frida and is developing The Prophet, an animated adaptation of the Kahlil Gibran’s book that has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Hayek, Ventanarosa, and Gutierrez are repped by CAA.