EXCLUSIVE: Roland Emmerich’s Centropolis Entertainment and Voltage Pictures are set to produce the flimmaker’s Maya Lord, a story set against the Mayan culture and conquistador era of the early 1500s.
Maya Lord follows a soldier, Guerrero, and a priest, Aguilar, who survive a violent shipwreck in the Yucatan Peninsula only to be captured by a fierce Mayan tribe. With no hope for escape, the brilliant and pragmatic adventurer Gonzalo Guerrero chooses to adopt the Mayan culture as his own, while the uncompromising Father Aguilar holds fast to his Christian faith. The conquistadors arrive and test the will of both men as they take different warring paths. Emmerich is directing from a script by Angela Workman, who previously penned The Zookeeper‘s Wife.
Back at TIFF, Deadline exclusively reported that Lionsgate took U.S. rights to Emmerich’s WWII movie Midway which carries a $100M budget and $35M P&A spend. We hear that Emmerich will films both projects back to back. Still no release date on when Midway will hit cinemas. The plan is for Maya Lord to be filming by Sept. 1.
The last time in big screen memory that the Mayans were given an epic action treatment was Mel Gibson’s 2006 title Apocalypto which Disney’s Touchstone label released grossing over $120M worldwide. The pic, entirely in Mayan, opened to No. 1 at the box office in mid December to $15M.
Voltage is also handling international sales for the film. Emmerich and Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier will introduce the project to buyers at a special presentation at the European Film Market on Thursday, February 15th.US and China rights are repped by CAA.
“I have been passionate about bringing this incredible true story of famed adventurer Gonzalo Guerrero to audiences for a long time, so I am delighted to be joining forces with Nic Chartier and the team at Voltage to bring this rich and powerful film to life,” commented Roland Emmerich in a statement.
Nicolas Chartier said, “Roland Emmerich is one of the biggest directors in the world. His movies take the audience on an emotional ride for a never-been-seen adventure every single time. We love his vision and passion for Maya Lord. This will be the perfect film for buyers who want event movies that can compete with studios releases in their countries.”
Emmerich’s credits as a director, producer, and screenwriter count more than $4 billion at the global B.O. Emmerich’s previous title, 2016’s Independence Day: Resurgence cleared close to $390M at the worldwide B.O. In his native Germany, Emmerich’s career began when his first film, The Noah’s Ark Principle, played in competition at the 1984 Berlin Film Festival. Other credits include Anonymous, which explored the explosive theory that Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by Edward De Vere, and Stonewall, a drama about the Stonewall Riots in 1969 New York, which sparked the LGBT civil rights movement. He set up Centropolis Film Productions in 1985 and under this banner, he has produced and directed almost 30 feature films.
Emmerich is repped by CAA and Bloom Hergott.