Javier Bardem circling role…

Filmmaking legend Steven Spielberg has reportedly set his sights on Hollywood’s long-in-development project, ‘Montezuma,’ with plans to make the historical epic his next directorial effort.

Penned by prolific screenwriter Dalton Trumbo back in 1965, the story tells of the clash between Aztec leader Montezuma and Hernando Cortez, the Spanish conquistador who led an infiltration into Mexico in 1519 —bringing a lust for gold and silver, religion, and diseases like smallpox.

Trumbo wrote the epic as a starring vehicle for Kirk Douglas, with whom he did the classics ‘Spartacus’ and ‘Lonely Are the Brave,’ but the project fell into development hell.

Now with Spielberg’s ‘Schindler’s List’ scribe Steve Zaillian penning a new draft of the script, the historical drama has got a new lease of life, and according to Deadline, Javier Bardem (‘The Counsellor,’ ‘Skyfall’) has expressed interest in the role of Cortez.

In addition to polishing the screenplay, Zaillian will take a producing credit alongside Spielberg.