EXCLUSIVE: Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs, an Amazon Top Bestseller, has been optioned by Overbrook Entertainment and Don Handfield & Richard Rayner’s film and television shingle, MOTOR. A limited series is planned for what promises to be an epic story.
The book follows the tragic tale of conquest and defeat, of colonization and resistance, of empires won and civilizations lost — and of the violent confluence of two empires previously unknown to each other. It’s the epic account of Hernan Cortes, one of the greatest conquerors history has ever known, and Montezuma, the complex leader of the ancient civilization that he would oppose. Their stories culminate in the cataclysmic battle that would be the end of one world and the making of a new one.
“I can’t believe this story has never been told,” said Caleeb Pinkett of Overbrook, a company whose partners include Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and James Lassiter. “I’m a history buff, and I read the story on my own and have always loved it. I believe it will make a great limited series, and I hope our business will look to history for projects because they are very engaging, completed stories.”
Overbrook produced upcoming Netflix film To All the Boys I Loved Before. Overbrook has also produced Hitch, I Am Legend and The Pursuit of Happyness, to name a few. Overbrook currently produces YouTube Red’s acclaimed Karate Kid follow-up series Cobra Kai.
Overbrook and MOTOR will both produce this project, with book author Buddy Levy collaborating on the adaptation.
MOTOR is also an executive producer of History’s epic drama Knightfall, which Handfield and Rayner co-created and are exec produce.
“I read Buddy Levy’s book while doing research for another project and fell in love with the boots-on-the-ground approach it takes to this epic story,” said Handfield. “Cortez and the conquest of Mexico is one of the most incredible events in human history and couldn’t be more timely.” Handfield also produced The Founder starring Michael Keaton as well as Kill the Messenger starring Jeremy Renner.
MOTOR is also producing Switched On, based on the book by John Elder Robison that’s being adapted by Emma Frost (White Queen) at Focus Features and Housemaid at CJ Entertainment which is being scripted by Academy Award winner Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious).
“I’m honored to collaborate with Don, Richard and Overbrook on the series Conquistador. Their passion for the story and keen comprehension of the magnitude of this unprecedented clash of empires makes them ideal partners,” said Levy, the author. “Cortes’s obsession to conquer the Aztecs is one of the greatest stories ever recorded.”