Steven Spielberg, Javier Bardem Eye Epic Drama About Montezuma, Hernan Cortes

Steve Zaillian will rewrite Dalton Trumbo’s original screenplay and produce the film with DreamWorks

steven spielberg

182999173Steven Spielberg is planning to direct an epic drama about the relationship between Aztec emperor Montezuma and Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes that has Javier Bardem circling the latter role, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.

Cortes led the Spanish into Mexico and caused the fall of the Aztec empire before fathering a child with Montezuma’s daughter.

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Dalton Trumbo wrote the script in the 1960s as a star vehicle for Kirk Douglas, who had just worked with the writer on “Spartacus.” The project remained in limbo until it recently landed at DreamWorks, which has hired Steve Zaillian to rewrite the script.

Zaillian, who won an Oscar for writing Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” will also produce the project under his Film Rites banner, which has a first-look deal at 20th Century Fox.

While Spielberg has not formally committed to direct the project, it is being developed with that idea in mind — though in any regard, it is not expected to be the “Lincoln” filmmaker’s next picture.

That continues to remain a mystery, as Spielberg was also planning to direct “Robopocalypse” and “American Sniper” before changing his mind. Clint Eastwood is now gearing up to direct “Sniper” later this year, with Bradley Cooper starring.

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More than 25 years after Trumbo’s death, the once-blacklisted scribe is still making media headlines, as “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston has been cast as Trumbo in an upcoming drama that Jay Roach will direct from a script by John McNamara.

The news was first reported by Deadline.