The epic saga of legendary conqueror Hernan Cortes has found a home at Amazon Studios, with Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) set to lead the four-hour miniseries Cortes. Developed by three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One) through Amblin Television, the project is created for series television by Oscar-winning Schindler's List writer Steven Zaillian; with Zaillian's script based on blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo's (Roman Holiday) half-century old script. Bardem is set to executive produce alongside The Americans' Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey.
"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."
– Daryl Frank and Justin Falvey, Amblin Television
Cortes tells the story of legendary conqueror Hernan Cortes (Bardem), who led a rebellious expedition to the heart of King Montezuma II's Aztec empire, connecting two civilizations for the first time and changing the course of history. From a historical standpoint, Cortés is a controversial figure: seen by some as a legend in the history of Spain; and as a mass murderer responsible for the destruction of a great civilization.
"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. 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." – Javier Bardem
Spielberg was originally interested in directing the life of Cortes on the big screen in 2014, but eventually felt that the scope of the story was best suited for a miniseries format; with development beginning through his television division, Amblin Television. For Amazon's part, Cortes falls directly in line with their new programming philosophy of large-scale projects that have international appeal and can be seen as "tent pole" programming for the streaming service.
"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. 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." – Sharon Yguado, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios