Javier Bardem to Star in ‘Cortes’ Miniseries from Steven Spielberg and Amazon
- Created on Sunday, 01 April 2018
- Written by Hoai-Tran Bui
--slashfilm.com March 27, 2018
Nobody expects a Spanish conquistador miniseries.
But a miniseries about the legendary Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés developed by Steven Spielberg will soon be sailing to a small screen near you. Amazon has greenlit a Cortes miniseries and tapped Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem to play the titular conquistador.
Amazon Studios has made a straight-to-series order for the four-hour Cortes miniseries from Amblin Television and Steven Spielberg, The Tracking Board reports based on an initial report from Deadline.
Created and written by Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List), the Cortes miniseries will follow Hernán Cortes as he leads a “rebellious expedition” to King Montezuma II’s Aztec empire. Cortes was famous for bringing about the fall of the Aztec Empire and leading the first phase of the colonization of the Americas by Spanish conquistadors.
Sharon Yguado, Amazon’s head of scripted series, praised the A-list team behind the project, which Spielberg initially began developing as a potential feature film. Yguado said:
“Cortés’ epic discoveries shaped the world as we know it today, and through the minds of Amblin, Steven Spielberg, Steve Zaillian and Javier Bardem, we will bring Prime Video members on an exhilarating journey. There are few moments in history that shape an entire culture such as Cortés’ story, and this series will be one filled with drama and adventure.”
The project is based off a long-gestating script by the late Dalton Trumbo. Trumbo originally wrote the script (then known as Montezuma) in the 1960s, a decade after he was blacklisted as part of the Hollywood Ten at the height of McCarthyism paranoia. Montezuma explored the relationship between Cortes and the Aztec emperor Montezuma and was originally planned as reunion between Trumbo and his Spartacus star Kirk Douglas.
Spielberg revived the project in 2014 at DreamWorks with the intention to direct a script by Zaillian. Bardem was also his first choice to star. Now, Bardem will executive produce the series alongside Amblin TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. Bardem said of the miniseries announcement:
“It is a privilege to tell this epic story— one that is full of drama and conflict within this huge, historical spectacle where two distant civilizations clash at the height of their reign. The best and worst of human nature came to life in all its light and darkness. As an actor, there is no better challenge than to serve such a unique project that I have been passionate about for years.
Bardem’s casting finally brings the long stalled project back to life. An immensely talented and acclaimed star, Bardem lends the series even more credence, allowing Amazon to throw its full-fledged support behind it.
Hero on the big screen–and in real life
- Created on Tuesday, 13 February 2018
- Written by Nestor U. Torre
--Phillipine Daily Enquirer February 13, 2018
Aside from the recent Golden Globe awards rites’ focus on female empowerment and anti-exploitation campaigns, one of its most attention-calling and inspiring moments was the appearance of the iconic action-drama star, Kirk Douglas. What made his participation memorable was his advanced age—101 years old!
Very few other entertainment luminaries (George Burns was one of them) have attained centenarian status, so Douglas’ feat itself is worth celebrating.
But, what makes it even more remarkable is the fact that, some years ago, he had a medical crisis that placed his survival in serious doubt—and robbed him of his normal speaking voice.
At the Golden Globes, it was heartening to see that the
“unsinkable” star could speak again, if only weakly. With the help and “interpretative” gift of his daughter-in-law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Douglas was able to communicate his best wishes to his younger colleagues and to millions of home viewers.
The seniors among them recalled Douglas’ halcyon days as a true-blue Hollywood sensation, starring in some memorable movies, like “Spartacus,” “Lonely are the Brave” and “Inherit the Wind.”
Douglas even portrayed the famously idiosyncratic artist, Vincent van Gogh, in a live-action bio film, predating last year’s “Loving Vincent” by many decades.
But, one of his most appreciated achievements in his long career was the key role he played in fighting film censorship in American movies.
An industry-wide, anticommunist witch hunt in the 1950s, prevented some gifted film artists from finding employment—but, Douglas was one of the few actor-producers who dared to counter the curtailment of artistic freedom.
He secretly got the gifted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, to write some screenplays for him, thus saving him from dire penury. And, years later, he even got the industry to officially acknowledge and honor Trumbo’s once-verboten authorship.
It takes guts to do what’s forbidden, but Douglas was an authentically brave man, not just in his onscreen exploits, but also in real life.
So, at 101 (and counting), he’s emerged as a true-blue hero in Hollywood, exceptional and honored not just for his ability to survive, but also to continue to excel and inspire!
Kirk Douglas Cradles His Great-Granddaughter in Multi-Generational Photo with Grandson Cameron
- Created on Thursday, 18 January 2018
- Written by Karen Mizoguchi
--People January 17, 2018
Kirk Douglas shared a sweet moment with his first great-granddaughter, the child of his oldest grandchild.
The 101-year-old screen legend posed for a family portrait with grandson Cameron Douglas, 39, and his 4-week-old daughter Lua Izzy, whom he shares with girlfriend Viviane Thibes.
“Words cannot express…. #Powerful #Bloodline,” Cameron captioned the picture of the three generations on Instagram Tuesday.
Aside from their bloodline, the iconic actor and his great-grandchild also share a name as Cameron’s daughter’s middle name is a tribute to her great-grandfather, who was born Issur Danielovitch, and later went by Izzy.
Missing from the picture to complete the multi-generational family photo was Kirk’s son and Cameron’s father, Michael Douglas, who previously shared the first photo of Lua Izzy when she was three days old.
Cameron and Viviane welcomed their first child together in December with Michael, 73, exclusively revealing the name of the couple’s daughter to PEOPLE in a statement: “[We’re] all ecstatic about baby Lua!”
While the Wall Street actor was not present in Tuesday’s photo, he was included in another family image that was also shared by Cameron two days prior.
“What it’s all about #Blessed with #Family,” he wrote alongside a picture that featured the father-son pair smiling with Cameron’s half-siblings, 17-year-old Dylan Michael and 14-year-old Carys Zeta, whose mother is Michael’s second wife Catherine Zeta-Jones.
“Dylan and Carys love being an aunt and uncle and we’re so happy to be her Bubba and Zeze,” Michael previously told PEOPLE, speaking of the names the baby will know him and his wife as.
101-Year-Old Kirk Douglas Receives Standing Ovation While Presenting a Golden Globe
- Created on Tuesday, 09 January 2018
- Written by Meg Swertlow
--ENews January 7, 2018
He is Spartacus!
Normally standing ovations are reserved for the night's winners, but at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards the A-list audience honored 101-year-old screen great Kirk Douglas when he came on stage to present the award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay with his daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Before he came on a stage in his wheelchair, a brief montage of Douglas' career played for the crowd showing scenes Spartacus, Lust for Life, Detective Story and more.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Steven Spielberg, William H. Macy and many more rose to their feet to applaud the aging actor and his illustrious career.
Zeta Jones briefly introduced the esteemed star, who suffered a debilitating stroke in 1996.
"In 1991, my father-in-law, this living Hollywood legend Kirk, was recognized by the Writer's Guild of America for his role in ending the Hollywood black list," she said.
"He not only hired the black-listed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to write the epic Spartacus, but he also made sure he was given his proper screen credit for his work.
Douglas, who is the father of Michael Douglas, responded, "Catherine, you said it all." He added, "I can never follow you."
Living Legend! Kirk Douglas Celebrates 101st Birthday with Wife Anne, Son Michael and Family
- Created on Tuesday, 12 December 2017
- Written by Alexia Fernandez
--People December 12, 2017
Kirk Douglas is truly a living legend.
The screen icon celebrated his 101st birthday on Saturday alongside his wife, Anne, 98. Douglas looked healthy and happy as he was visited by his family, including sons Michael and Joel, and granddaughter Kelsey Douglas.
The Spartacus actor sat beside his wife as he blew out the candle on his cake. The sweet confection bore “101” in large numbers with a stunning design of sunflowers on top of it and a single candle.
The sunflowers honored one of Kirk’s greatest performances as Vincent Van Gogh in the film Lust for Life, according to his son, Michael, who shared the photos on his Facebook page.
In another photo, Kirk was celebrated with a second cake, this one depicting a pair of red boxing gloves that honored his first Academy Award-nominated performance in Champion. The cake bore a sweet message, reading, “Happy Birthday to the Champion.”
His daughter-in-law, Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, couldn’t attend the festivities but wished her father-in-law a happy birthday on Instagram.
“101 today!!!! My darling Pappy on my knee,” she wrote in the caption. “Happy Birthday to my wonderful, inspirational and loving father in law, Kirk. Love you with all my heart. ❤️#hero”
Dylan Douglas, Zeta-Jones’ son with husband Michael, also wished his grandfather a happy birthday on his Instagram Saturday.
“Happy birthday 101 years and still sexy love you with all my heart Pappy,” Dylan wrote in the caption in a photo where he kissed Kirk’s cheek.
Days before his birthday, Douglas was paid a visit by another Hollywood legend, Dame Judi Dench, who spoke to PEOPLE about meeting him in his Los Angeles home.
The two bonded over their shared Dec. 9 birthday — she turned 83 —and Dench was honored with the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Nov. 30.
“I will never forget this moment,” Dench said of meeting Douglas. “He is a legend in our family.”
Kirk Douglas Celebrates 101st Birthday: Exclusive Look Inside The Family Party
- Created on Tuesday, 12 December 2017
- Written by Pete Hammond
--Deadline Hollywood December 10, 2017
Douglas’ Oscar winning son Michael flew in from New York just to be with his dad on the special day, and then was flying right back to where his eldest son Cameron is about to make him a grandfather – and Kirk a great-grandfather – with the imminent arrival of a baby girl.
Daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones couldn’t be at Douglas’ Beverly Hills home in person but, via FaceTime, sang what I am told was an Oscar-worthy rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
Kirk’s son Joel drove in from the desert and posed for a photo with Michael and Kirk, spelling out 101 with their fingers. Among other family members there, in addition of course to wife Anne, was granddaughter Kelsey Douglas, who is about to turn 25 and is the latest of the clan to follow grandpa into the acting profession.
Three generations of Douglas thesps (Kirk, Michael, Cameron) memorably appeared together in MGM’s It Runs In The Family (2003), which remains to date the last studio film of Kirk’s career, although I’m told another guest at the party, CAA’s Fred Specktor, still considers himself the legendary star’s agent should the actor ever decide to go back to work. Douglas is still very active, and his latest book, Kirk And Anne: Letters Of Love, Laughter, And A Lifetime In Hollywood, written with Anne, was released in May.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has cited Kirk as his model for philanthropy, was there. It was just two years ago that I reported, on the occasion of his 99th birthday, that Douglas’ donation of $15 million was made toward building a new Alzheimer’s facility. The Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion will be located at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Woodland Hills Campus (Katzenberg chairs the fund).
Universal Chairman Ron Meyer also came by the lunchtime event and I hear got the same question he always gets: Is he keeping Kirk Douglas Way on the Universal lot free of potholes? The Spartacus set is still a staple on the studio tour.
Among others at the small gathering were producer George Schlatter and wife Jolene, Neile McQueen Toffel, producer David Permut, writer David Bender, and director Jeff Kanew, who made 1986’s Tough Guys, the last teaming of Kirk and good friend Burt Lancaster. Kanew also directed Douglas’ autobiographical piece Before I Forget at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. And perhaps the most important guest was Douglas’ cardiologist Dr. P.K. Shah, who per tradition at these annual birthday gatherings brought along the vodka for the one drink a year he allows Kirk to have. Everyone vowed to be back next year to do it all again for the 102nd.
A Star Is Born: Kirk Douglas turns 101 today
- Created on Sunday, 10 December 2017
- Written by Los Angeles Times Staff
--Los Angeles Times December 9, 2017
“So much of my life has been make-believe that the characters looked more real than the people around me. For years I'd do three, sometimes four pictures a year. … And what you're acting can be realer than things in your own life.”
Kirk Douglas, 1988, from his autobiography The Ragman’s Son
Hollywood Royalty! Judi Dench Meets Kirk Douglas Ahead of His 101st Birthday: 'He Is a Legend'
- Created on Friday, 08 December 2017
- Written by Ale Russian
--People December 6, 2017
Hollywood royalty came together last week.
Dame Judi Dench and screen icon Kirk Douglas met for the first time ahead of Dench receiving the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Nov. 30. Since the 100-year-old actor was unable to attend, he invited Dench to his Los Angeles home the day before the ceremony.
“I will never forget this moment,” Dench tells PEOPLE of meeting Douglas in this week’s issue. “He is a legend in our family.”
The day after the two swapped stories and bonded over their shared Dec. 9 birthday — she turns 83, he hits 101 — Dench was honored in a ceremony honoring her expansive career. With over 50 tables all named after her movies, guests celebrated the screen legend as some of her past costars and leading names in Hollywood spoke in her behalf.
Tributes were given by Jeff Bridges, Armie Hammer, and her Victoria & Abdul co-star Ali Fazal, who flew over 20 hours from India to be there for her. Fazal said that one of the best pieces of advice Dench gave him was “learn your lines and don’t bump into furniture.”
Dench, for her part, was delighted with the honor, saying it was one of the “best parties I’ve ever been to.”
Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Victoria and Abdul' Star Judi Dench Receives Kirk Douglas Award
- Created on Tuesday, 05 December 2017
- Written by Scott Feinberg
--Hollywood Reporter December 1, 2017
Dame Judi Dench, the legendary British actress who is currently vying for her eighth Oscar nomination, for her performance as Queen Victoria in Stephen Frears' Victoria and Abdul, was feted with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film on Thursday night at a black-tie gala dinner.
The event, which took place at the Bacara Resort and Spa near Santa Barbara, with all proceeds going to SBIFF's free year-round educational programs, featured tributes to the 82-year-old from her admirer Jeff Bridges, her J. Edgar costar (and this season's Call Me By Your Name best supporting actor contender) Armie Hammer and her Victoria and Abdul costar Ali Fazal.
Afterwards, Dench took the stage to a standing ovation and spoke about what an honor it is to be associated with Douglas, whose entire family she once spent time with in Italy.
Dench, who will turn 83 on Dec. 9 (the same day on which Douglas will turn 101), is best known for the seven films that have brought her Oscar attention — Mrs. Brown (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998, resulting in her one win), Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Philomena (2003) — and for appearing as M in eight Bond films between 1995 and 2015.
Past recipients of SBIFF's Kirk Douglas Award, which goes "to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both," include Douglas, John Travolta, Ed Harris, Quentin Tarantino, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker, Jessica Lange, Jane Fonda and, last year, Warren Beatty.
The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival is set to run Jan. 31-Feb. 10.
LA Mission gala honors actress Catherine Zeta-Jones
- Created on Thursday, 16 November 2017
- Written by Amanda Salas
--Fox 11 November 9, 2017
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is an Oscar winner married to Hollywood Royalty, and supports a long list of charitable causes. Tonight she was honored for her philanthropy, and it definitely runs in the family!
Anne Douglas, wife of Kirk Douglas, and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ mother-in-law, had her 7th annual Los Angeles Mission’s Legacy of Vision Gala tonight in Beverly Hills. Catherine was presented with the Anne Douglas award, which is give annually to the person who has made significant contributions to the community. Anne Douglas was present alongside her husband Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, and his son Cameron Douglas as well.
The event took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where I talked to Catherine and Michael on the red carpet before the Gala begun. She gave praise to her mother-in-law calling her a real life “Wonder Woman”. She also shared how her children are following in the family’s philanthropic footsteps, and what she is most grateful for...just in time for Thanksgiving!