Oscar winner Javier Bardem has signed on to star in CORTES, a four-hour miniseries about legendary Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés that has just been greenlit at Amazon Studios, the Tracking Board has confirmed.
The epic series hails from Amblin Television and Steven Spielberg, who began developing Cortes several years ago as a possible directing vehicle. A rival project had been in development at HBO from executive producers Martin Scorsese and Benicio Del Toro, the latter of whom was poised to star, but its momentum has stalled.
Spielberg’s Oscar-winning Schindler’s List scribe Steve Zaillian wrote the script, based on a 50-year old by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo. Going the miniseries route will allow Zaillian to do justice to Cortés and his colorful life. Cortés changed the course of history when he led a rebellious expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. Bardem will executive produce the series alongside Amblin TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey.
“Cortés’ 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. There are few moments in history that shape an entire culture such as Cortés’ story, and this series will be one filled with drama and adventure,” said Sharon Yguado, Amazon’s head of scripted series.
“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,” added 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.”
Cortes is the kind of epic saga that will be much better served on the small screen. Bardem’s casting is a real coup for the long-gestating project, and Zaillian is exactly the kind of A-list writer who Amazon should be bringing into the fold. This one sounds very promising, so stay tuned as it continues to come together.
The news was first reported by Deadline.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief