Amazon Studios has given a four-episode order to the untitled miniseries, created for television by “Schindler’s List” writer Zaillian and adapted from a screenplay by the late Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Zaillian, Bardem, and Spielberg will serve as executive producers alongside Amblin Telelvision’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey.
“Cortes’ epic discoveries shaped the world as we know it today, and through the minds of Amblin, Steven Spielberg, Steve Zaillian and Javier Bardem, we will bring Prime Video members on an exhilarating journey,” said Sharon Yguado, head of scripted series, Amazon Studios. “There are few moments in history that shape an entire culture such as Cortes’ story, and this series will be one filled with drama and adventure.”
A 16th century explorer, Cortes defied Spanish authorities to lead an expedition to what is now Mexico that led to the fall of the Aztec Empire.
“It is a privilege to tell this epic story— one that is full of drama and conflict within this huge, historical spectacle where two distant civilizations clash at the height of their reign,” said Bardem. “The best and worst of human nature came to life in all its light and darkness. As an actor, there is no better challenge than to serve such a unique project that I have been passionate about for years, and I am thrilled to be working with this dream team of Steven Spielberg, Steven Zaillian and Amazon.”
Trumbo wrote the screenplay for a film about the meeting of Cortes and the Aztecs, originally titled “Montezuma,” in the 1960s. But the feature was never made.
Frank and Falvey, co-heads of Amblin Television: “We are so pleased that Amazon has given us the opportunity to bring this exciting 500 -year old story to Prime Video members worldwide. It is a part of history that had such a significant impact and largely influenced modern day civilizations. With Javier as Cortes, we have the perfect star for this role, and we can’t wait to get started.”
The greenlight for the Cortes series continues a shift in strategy at Amazon that began last year with a mandate from CEO Jeff Bezos to move toward more event programming from the entertainment division and led to the appointment earleir this year of veteran broadcast executive Jennifer Salke as the new head of Amazon Studios.