Amazon Scraps ‘Cortes y Moctezuma’ Limited Series Starring Javier Bardem

Four-episode epic will not move forward “due to the production constraints created by the COVID-19 global pandemic”

Javier Bardem
Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

Amazon will not return to production on the big-budget limited series “Cortes y Moctezuma” due to increased production costs caused by COVID-19, the streamer said Thursday.

Ordered in 2018, the four-episode miniseries starred Javier Bardem as Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes, the 16th-century colonizer who led a rebellious expedition to the heart of King Montezuma II’s Aztec empire.

“Due to the production constraints created by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Amazon Studios and Amblin Partners are unable to move forward with production on our Cortés y Moctezuma series,” Amazon and Amblin said in a joint statement. “In the current climate, there is unfortunately no way to remount the production in the near future to achieve the scale and scope that was intended and that the series deserves. We have nothing but admiration and respect for Javier, Tenoch, Yoshira, Gael, Diego, Steve Zaillian, and the entire cast and crew of the series and hope we can work together again in the future.”

“Schindler’s List” writer Steven Zaillian served as writer and creator of the four-part historical epic with Steven Spielberg is also attached to executive produce alongside Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna also served as executive producers on the project via their production company La Corriente del Golfo.

Production on the series was underway in Mexico when the coronavirus pandemic forced a shut down back in March.

A number of other series have already fallen victim to the same fate as Hollywood looks to resume TV production under strict safety guidelines that often greatly increase costs. Netflix recently reversed course on new seasons of the YA dramas “The Society” and “I Am Not Okay With This,” and truTV canceled plans for another season of Andrea Savage’s “I’m Sorry” last month.


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