Latin America

Filmmaker Ridley Scott to bring life of “El Chapo” to the big screen

British director purchases rights to Don Winslow’s bestseller ‘The Cartel’

An artist puts the finishing touches on an 'El Chapo' piñata in Tamaulipas.
An artist puts the finishing touches on an 'El Chapo' piñata in Tamaulipas.V. Badillo (EFE)

The spectacular prison escape by Mexican drug lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Lorea has not only made headlines around the world, but has also provided inspiration for a number of songs and narcocorrido ballads, which have exploded across the internet in celebration of his daring jailbreak.

Now Hollywood producer and director Ridley Scott wants to bring the story of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartel leader to the big screen.

The story covers 2004 to 2014, and details the underworld drug operations that take place over a decade

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Thursday, Scott, who directed classics such as Alien and Blade Runner, said that he and his Scott Free Films production company have acquired the rights to Don Winslow’s latest best-selling novel The Cartel, which came out in June.

The novel is a fictionalized account about El Chapo and the powerful Sinaloa cartel he controls, and also includes a portrayal of Guzmán’s first jailbreak from a Jalisco prison in 2001, when he purportedly hid inside a laundry cart.

Winslow spent a decade researching El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel. However, in his book, the author doesn’t mention Guzmán by name but instead focuses the plot on two friends, Art Keller and Adán Berrera, who choose very different paths: Art joins the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) while Adán becomes a cartel leader.

More information
First ‘narcocorrido’ drug ballads about ‘El Chapo’s’ escape hit the internet
Political storm brewing in Mexico after “El Chapo’s” prison escape
The day ‘El Chapo’ met his captor
Spain slams the door on Hollywood

The story covers a period from 2004 to 2014 and details the underworld drug operations that take place over a decade. Some reviewers have compared The Cartel to Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. But instead of New York and Italy – where most of the The Godfather’s plot takes place – Winslow’s novel is set on the US-Mexican border.

The Cartel’s release could not have come at a better time. The book went on sale just weeks before El Chapo’s daring escape from El Altiplano maximum security prison on July 18.

With the help of others, including possibly prison officials, Guzmán fled by way of a 1,500-meter tunnel that was dug under the complex and led to a shower stall in his cell. The passageway was constructed to including lighting and ventilation systems.

Surveillance cameras captured the moments before El Chapo escaped but a blind spot prevented authorities from seeing him flee underneath a shower grate.

Surveillance cameras captured the moments before ‘El Chapo’ escaped, but a blind spot prevented authorities from seeing him flee underneath a shower grate

The British director is familiar with the subject matter. In 2013, Scott produced The Counselor, which starred Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem and was based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel about drug trafficking along the US-Mexican border.

Despite the poor reviews, Scott considered it one of his best movies – an opinion shared by Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro.

At 77, Scott is more active than ever. On average, he makes a movie each year, including epic projects such as Exodus: Gods and Kings, which tells the story of Moses, and Prometheus, which depicts the origins of the monster that first terrorized space travelers in his 1979 classic Alien.

Currently, Scott is putting the final touches on The Martian, which will be released this fall and stars Matt Damon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott will direct and produce The Cartel while Shane Salerno will write the script.

Salerno has already adapted one of Winslow’s books about drug trafficking, Savages: The Interrogations, which was directed by Oliver Stone.

Rules
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS