Martin Scorsese made his first foray into television with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, helming the pilot and acting as an executive producer on the series. He recently delved into his second HBO project, an untitled 70s Rock ‘N Roll drama series from Scorsese, Mick Jagger, and Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter, and now he’s lining up a third potential series at the network: a drama revolving around the life of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. And who’s interest in playing the infamous explorer? That would be Benicio Del Toro. More after the jump.
Per Deadline, Scorsese is developing the potential HBO series Cortes with writer/executive producer Chris Gerolmo (Mississippi Burning) and Del Toro, who will act as executive producer and is keen on taking the titular lead role. Cortés was responsible for bringing down the Aztec empire, as he lead the Spanish expedition to Mexico where he allied himself with certain indigenous peoples, whom he then turned against others.
The planned series will revolve around three main characters: Cortés, Malinche, the Mayan girl who helped him bring down the Aztec empire, and Montezuma, the Aztec leader he befriended and then subsequently usurped. Cortés is a somewhat controversial figure who brought large swaths of Mexico under Spanish rule, but at the cost of many indigenous peoples.
It’s unclear how close the project is to producing a pilot, but it’s certainly an incredibly promising prospect (Scorsese directing a 16th century explorer drama sounds amazing). Scorsese directed the Rock ‘N Roll pilot earlier this year and is currently preparing to begin production on his next feature, Silence, sometime in 2015. He won an Emmy for helming the Boardwalk Empire pilot, and it’s clear that he and HBO have developed a fruitful relationship. Hopefully we hear more about Cortes soon.