EXCLUSIVE: Roland Emmerich’s Centropolis Entertainment has acquired screen rights to Maya Lord, the historical novel written by John Coe Robbins. The novel tells the fact-based story of Gonzalo Guerrero, who was shipwrecked in a violent storm in 1511, and found himself cast away on an unknown shore in the New World. He and his Spaniard shipmates were enslaved by a Mayan tribe. With no hope of escape, the brilliant and pragmatic adventurer searches for a way to advance in a strange new culture. As one of the captives eventually joins Cortes in the conquest of Mexico, Gonzalo adopts Maya ways and rises to become a major warlord, defending the Maya against Cortes and other Spanish conquistadors.
Guerrero, who married the daughter of a Maya chieftain, is generally regarded in Mexico as the father of the first Mestizo family. Emmerich has been passionate about Guerrero’s story for years, and his Centropolis execs Aaron Boyd and Kirstin Winkler are overseeing the film. The author, who is repped by attorney Anthony Morris, is a former broadcaster who most recently made the Emmy-nominated documentary Dying To Live.
This will be down the road a bit for Emmerich, who next directs Jeremy Irvine in Stonewall, the Jon Robin Baitz film about the June 28, 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, a mafia-owned bar that was a gathering place for gays and transgender people. It became the flashpoint for the gay rights movement, a galvanizing event that is considered a touchstone even today in the fight for equal rights for the gay and transgender population. Emmerich’s way in is to focus on a young man’s political awakening in the backdrop of those riots. After that he will helm a sequel to Independence Day for Fox.