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Amazon orders Spielberg epic as investment in high-end drama deepens

Amazon Studios has greenlit a straight-to-series order of a four-hour miniseries based on the epic saga of Hernan Cortes, by Steven Spielberg and starred by Javier Bardem.

Steven Spielberg

Cortes follows the legendary conqueror, Hernan Cortes, who led a rebellious expedition to the heart of King Montezuma II’s Aztec empire, connecting two civilisations for the first time and changing the course of history.

The series from Spielberg and Amblin Television, is written by Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) and based on the screenplay by Dalton Trumbo (Roman Holiday).

Bardem (No Country for Old Men) is set to star and executive produce. Spielberg, Zaillian, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will also exec produce.

Amazon is increasingly looking at epic dramas as part of its strategy that has seen it move away from half-hour shows and invest it globally popular titles such as a Lord of the Rings TV remake.

“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.”

Bardem said: “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.”