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Steven Spielberg’s Next Could Be ‘Montezuma’ With Javier Bardem, Based On Script By ‘Spartacus’ Writer Dalton Trumbo

Steven Spielberg's Next Could Be 'Montezuma' With Javier Bardem, Based On Script By 'Spartacus' Writer Dalton Trumbo

For a guy as prolific as Steven Spielberg tends to be, 2013 was a curious year for the filmmaker. Following “Lincoln,” the director had long been planning to make “Robopocalypse,” but he shelved the project in January, citing that the script needed more work. He then lined up “American Sniper” with Bradley Cooper slated to star, only to drop out of that too, with Clint Eastwood taking over the director’s chair. And while Spielberg as plethora of producing projects on the go (including Stanley Kubrick‘s vision of “Napoleon” with Baz Luhrmann to helm), it’s not certain what he’ll direct next. But another option has come to the table.

Deadline reports that Spielberg is eyeing “Montezuma,” which is based on a fifty year old script penned by the legendary Dalton Trumbo. As the story goes, Kirk Douglas had commissioned the script from his (at the time) regular collaborator Trumbo (who also penned “Spartacus“), with the screenwriter turning in a draft running a whopping 205-pages. Martin Ritt (“Hud,” “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold“) was slated to direct, but the project fell apart… Until now…

Steve Zaillian will give the project a rewrite, with Trumbo (according to the book “The Films Of Martin Ritt: Fanfare For The Common Man“) describing the story as following Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez’s attempts “to instruct the heathen in the true faith, to explore and map the western coastlands, and cultivate trade and commerce.” 

Javier Bardem is apparently interested in the role of Cortez (which could see the title of the movie changed to, you guessed it, “Cortez“), and it’s a helluva part, with Trumbo once describing the character as “an intellectual who is also a man of action, fanatically religious who is no stranger to cynicism…an adventurer and statesman, brave but not ashamed to run for his life.”

Sounds like great material, but all that being said, Deadline isn’t sure “if this is next or far down the line.” Indeed, with Spielberg noting that the current climate nearly saw “Lincoln” go to HBO, we wonder what studio is going to pony up the dough for what sounds like a very expensive drama set in the 16th century about the fall of the Aztec empire. Where’s the toys or sequels in that? But as always, one to keep an eye on.

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I think you're jumping the gun a bit, perhaps not without good reason given Hollywoood history, but take a step back. They aren't using Trumbo's screenplay, they've put Steven Zallian to work at adapting it. Also you say you respect Spielberg, then remember what recent efforts of his that took on real life events have been like in Munich and Lincoln, one sided and manipulative? Hardly.


This sounds dreadful. Although I have huge respect for Spielberg and Bardem, I'm worried about the antropological misrepresetnations of a 50 year old script written by an US-american focusing only on CortÉS (that's the correct spelling) and, obviously, a narrow western-civilization-only point of view. I am mexican, I'm a film buff as much as a history buff and I've studied The Conquest Period for decades now (it's part of my identity and other 130 million mexicans out there) and I can assure you, this story cannot be properly told in just one movie without being a washed-down and manipulative version of what it happened. Cortés was no intellectual, he abandoned his abogacy studies in Salamanca and decided to come to the american continent as a "cane entrepeneur" or whatever worked for him. He was smart for sure but more manipulative than enlightned.. so to say it more precisely, he was only looking to exploit the land at all costs, not to make a spiritual conversion (THAT was his method). So I'd be very skeptical about the way this movie could come out… as propaganda? The world needs a revision of its history (that's why it's falling apart) and quite honestly I don't trust american filmmakers for that matter.

Truth Powell

Spielberg needs to do a Superhero movie. He is a master of action and adventure and if he gave the studios a huge hit, he can get funding for movies like this and Lincoln (Yes I wonder why a man with over $100 million can't fund his own movie but that's another monster).

Imagine Captain America 3 directed by Spielberg set in WW2 with Nazis as the villains. It would be amazing.


Sounds awesome. I'd rather watch this than some sci-fi spectacle or another war film. Bring the epic adventure back, Steve.

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