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Roland Emmerich is best known for making movies where large portions of the planet explode. However, for his next feature, he'll be tacking something very different, where the explosion count could be down at zero. The man behind 2012 and a pair of Independence Day movies will next helm Maya Lord a period drama that's being compared to Braveheart and Dances with Wolves.
Maya Lord is a historical epic that tells the story of Gonzalo Guerrero. Guerrero was a sailor who shipwrecked on the Yucatan Penninsula and was taken prisoner by a Mayan Tribe. However, rather than fight them, Gurrero chooses to join them and live with them, while a priest, Father Aguilar, who was captured alongside Guererro, holds to his faith. Both men are tested as the conquistadors arrive in Mexico. According to Slashfilm, Maya Lord is written by The Zookeeper's Wife scribe Angela Workman, based on the novel of the same name by John Coe Robbins.
While Roland Emmerich is best known for epic disaster movies, he has directed his own share of dramatic films, including Stonewall, Anonymous, and The Patriot. Each of these films has a historical aspect to it. The Patriot was a fictional story that was set during the American Revolution. Anonymous dealt with the historical conspiracy theory that William Shakespeare didn't actually write the plays attributed to him. Stonewall might actually be the closest comparison to Maya Lord, as it is based on historical events. Although, Emmerich had some issues with Stonewall as far as the history was concerned, so hopefully this film won't be too much like that one in that regard. Although, Maya Lord, the book the film will be based on, is actually a fictionalized version of the real events, so it's hard to say how historical the movie will actually be.
Exactly when Roland Emmerich will get around to directing Maya Lord is not clear. The director has a handful of other projects that he's also attached to, including a movie about the Battle of Midway. There had also been plans for a third Independence Day movie, though following the less than warm reception for Independence Day: Resurgence, it's unclear if that project is still on the table.
The subject matter of Maya Lord certainly sounds like a part of history worthy of a feature film. I certainly wasn't aware of it prior to hearing about this, and odds are that's the case for a lot of people. While taking the events of the movie as fact probably wouldn't be advisable, learning about the characters at all is a worthwhile endeavor. The added layer of fiction is probably exactly what Roland Emmerich needs to bring his own particular style to the historical epic.