Could Steven Spielberg finally be back in action?

Share via

A year ago, Steven Spielberg was front and center with “Lincoln,” a critical and box office success and an awards season mainstay. Since then, the director has taken his time settling on a new project, experiencing a few false starts and leaving his fingerprints on some TV deals along the way.

Now it looks as though Spielberg is eyeing a return to action with a historical epic about the Spanish conquistador Cortez and his clash with the Aztec leader Montezuma.

According to a Deadline report, the film, which may be called “Cortez,” would star Javier Bardem in the title role and be based on a 50-year-old script by “Spartacus” scribe Dalton Trumbo, with a rewrite by Steve Zaillian, who worked with Spielberg on “Schindler’s List.” Trumbo’s script has been hailed as one of Hollywood’s great unmade movies.


PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV

Given Spielberg’s penchant for sweeping historical films, it’s easy to imagine why he would be attracted to the inherent drama of the clash of two cultures in the New World.

If “Cortez” fails to materialize, it would mark the third major film project in a row to fall through for Spielberg.

The director originally intended to follow “Lincoln” with “Robopocalypse,” an adaptation of the bestselling book about a futuristic war between robots and humans. After spending several weeks preparing for the project, Spielberg ultimately decided that the script wasn’t ready and the budget was too high. He shelved the film last January.

A few months later, Spielberg signed on to team with Bradley Cooper for “American Sniper,” a film about the most accurate sniper in U.S. military history, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, based on his memoir of the same name. Spielberg dropped out of the project in August, however, leaving him with nothing imminent.

Another potential project for Spielberg, though unlikely as his next one, is another presidential drama. In October, his DreamWorks Studios announced plans to make a movie based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.” (Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” was the basis for “Lincoln.”)


Spielberg’s Amblin Television has also been active of late, announcing a streaming deal with Amazon for the CBS drama “Extant,” though such news probably won’t sate Spielberg fans awaiting his next movie.


‘Gravity’ leads BAFTA nominations with 11

Meryl Streep calls out Walt Disney as sexist, anti-Semitic

Bradley Cooper talks hair, ‘Hustle’ and working with Louis C.K.