Benicio del Toro is known to impersonate iconic roles, and now the Puerto Rican actor is in final negotiations to play the notorious Colombian cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar.
Looking behind at Benicio del Toro’s career, in 2008 he incarnated Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s “Che.” Controversy surrounding the film’s portrayal of the historical figure and the Bolivian and Cuban revolutions followed the film’s debut.
“Del Toro is one of the rare actors with enough charisma and range to play such a multi-faceted character as Escobar, who could be wonderfully charming yet dangerous and menacing,” Dimitri Rassam, who will be producing “Paradise Lost,” told Variety.
According to The Huffinton Post, Rassam noted that “Paradise” isn’t a Pablo Escobar biopic. It “will have a narrative structure in the vein of ‘The Last King of Scotland,’ weaving Nick and Maria’s romance with Nick’s ambivalent and destructive relationship with Escobar.”
Inspired by true events, the story turns on Nick, a young surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls madly in love with a beautiful local girl called Maria. Their romance seems idyllic until he meets her uncle, Pablo Escobar.
For over two decades, Pablo Escobar led the infamous Cartel de Medellín which terrorized Colombia for more than two decades until he was killed by Colombian soldiers in 1993. His successful production and distribution of cocaine resulted in an estimated $9 billion fortune that cost more than 4,000 individuals their lives.
In March, the movie will begin filming in Panama with a script written by Italian actor Andrea di Stefano (“Life of Pi”), who will also be making his directorial debut with “Paradise Lost.”
In recent years the memory of the notorious figure has been revitalized by TV series, collectable sticker books and even a clothing line created by his son.
Two other films about Pablo Escobar developed in Hollywood a few years ago failed to get off the ground—“Escobar,” with Antoine Fuqua directing and Oliver Stone producing, and “Killing Pablo,” with Joe Carnahan directing and Bob Yari financing.