Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Aztec" ventures to the small screen

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – A TV project based on the best-selling historical novel "Aztec" is in the works.

Producer Grant Turck has optioned the book by Gary Jennings and has partnered with director Alfonso Arau ("Like Water for Chocolate," "A Walk in the Clouds") to develop it into a miniseries.

John Milius -- an Oscar nominee for his "Apocalypse Now" screenplay and co-creator of HBO's "Rome" -- is in talks to adapt the book, with Arau on board to direct at least two hours of the potential series.

Written after more than 10 years of research into Aztec culture and rites, "Aztec" tells the story of the native civilization of North America at its peak through the eyes of Mixtli, a son of a provincial quarrier who goes on to become a scribe, a distinguished warrior and a successful merchant. His courage and resourcefulness earn him a knighthood and, eventually, elevation to the nobility.

"'Aztec' is an adventure story, a love story and a tragedy all interwoven into one narrative," said Arau.

Turck noted the timing of the project. "Next year marks the bicentennial of Mexico's independence from Spain and the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, making now a perfect time for a project based on 'Aztec,'" he said.

First published by Atheneum in 1980, the late Jennings' acclaimed novel is still in print, published by Forge Books.

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