Two Hollywood production companies have optioned WSU English instructor Buddy Levy’s Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs, with plans to turn the epic tale into a TV series.
Overbrook Entertainment, a company whose partners include actor Will Smith, and MOTOR optioned the book after discussions started last fall.
Published by Bantam Books in 2008, Conquistador chronicles the demise of the Aztec Empire as Hernán Cortés imprisons its leader, Montezuma, and captures what was then the most populous city in the world in what Levy called “the costliest single battle in history.” Some 200,000 Aztecs died.
“I knew from the beginning when I wrote it that it had cinematic value,” said Levy. “Not necessarily from my writing, though I hope that’s part of it. It’s just a whopper of a tale.”
The project now faces the usual challenges: financing scripts for a pilot and other episodes, getting the interest of A-list talent for premier roles like Cortés, Montezuma and their interpreter, La Malinche, and finding a time when the principals are free. Levy himself is rushing to finish Labyrinth of Ice, a book about the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition that saw 18 of its original 25-man crew perish in the Canadian Arctic.