×

Javier Bardem, Steven Spielberg, Steven Zaillian Partner for Amazon Miniseries

Javier Bardem is set to star as Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes in an Amazon miniseries from writer Steven Zaillian and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television.

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.

More TV

  • ITV Studios' Julie Meldal-Johnsen on New

    ITV Studios' Julie Meldal-Johnsen on European Series, 'Experimental Risk Taking'

    Julie Meldal-Johnsen, executive VP of global content at ITV Studios, said Wednesday that the company’s continuing move into European drama through its various subsidiaries was creating unique opportunities across the continent. Presenting the group’s upcoming new series at the Berlinale Series Market and Conference, Meldal-Johnsen spoke to Variety about local productions that are aimed at [...]

  • ABC News

    ABC News Suspends Veteran Correspondent David Wright Following Project Veritas Leak

    David Wright has told many stories during his two decades at ABC News. Now he finds himself at the center of one of them. Wright, a veteran correspondent who has reported from Beirut, Gaza, St. Peter’s Square and the Congo, was suspended by the Walt Disney-owned news outlet Tuesday after Project Veritas, a conservative organization [...]

  • 'Love Is Blind': Netflix Announces Reunion

    'Love Is Blind': Netflix Announces Reunion Special, Which Will Post on YouTube

    Netflix’s unscripted guilty pleasure “Love Is Blind” has quickly turned into a pop culture phenomenon, and the streamer is aiming to capitalize on that with a reunion special featuring the show’s cast. Here’s the twist: The “Love Is Blind” reunion special will premiere March 5 — on Netflix’s YouTube channel. That will presumably expose the [...]

  • Frank Doelger70th Primetime Emmy Awards -

    Frank Doelger and Mark Huffam to Produce 'The Swarm' For European Pubcasters' Pact The Alliance

    The Alliance, the pact formed by Europe’s top state broadcasters to counter the growing power of Netflix and other streaming giants, has joined forces on a high-end adaptation of bestselling environmental sci-fi thriller “The Swarm.” As previously announced, multi Emmy award-winning producer Frank Doelger (“Game of Thrones”) is executive producing the English language series via [...]

  • Macaulay Culkin

    'American Horror Story': Macaulay Culkin Among Those Joining for Season 10

    Macaulay Culkin is one of the stars set to join the “American Horror Story” franchise for its upcoming tenth season. Series creator Ryan Murphy announced the new and returning cast members via a suitably gloomy video posted to his Instagram, set to the tune of the song “Dead of Night” by Orville Peck. Two mainstays [...]

  • ABC Orders Comedy Pilot From Nahnatchka

    Jason Lee-Fronted Comedy Pilot From Nahnatchka Khan and Niki Schwartz-Wright Ordered at ABC

    Nahnatchka Khan could have another series coming to ABC. The “Fresh Off the Boat” creator is an executive producer on a pilot called “Valley Trash,” which has been picked up at the Disney-owned network. A single-cam comedy, “Valley Trash” hails from “Speechless” writer Niki Schwartz-Wright (who will serve as writer, EP and showrunner) and is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content