El Chapo is Still Trying to Make a Film About His Life

It's been a long and unending saga so far

El Chapo
El Chapo in custody.

What happens when one of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins sets out to tell the story of his life via the big screen? That’s not a rhetorical question; instead, it mirrors what’s taken place with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán in recent years. In a new article at Air Mail, Alan Feuer chronicles the drug kingpin’s forays into the cinematic world — which sound as fraught and dangerous as his more prominent line of work.

Feuer has written extensively about El Chapo, both as a reporter for The New York Times and in a new book, El Jefe: The Stalking of Chapo Guzmán. In this new article, Feuer writes that he initially learned about the proposed project when covering El Chapo’s trial.

“[T]he kingpin’s friend and fellow narco Alex Cifuentes testified that his girlfriend, a young Colombian actress, had encouraged Guzmán in 2007 to turn his tale into a major motion picture—no doubt looking for a role in it,” Feuer writes. As it turns out, things escalated from there.

And by “escalate,” we mean that El Chapo ended up attempting to kill one of the screenwriters involved with the project, among many other developments.

“[T]he writer, Javier Rey, unwisely sought to strong-arm his subject for a percentage of the profits and was forced into hiding when Guzmán tried to kill him,” Feuer writes. “Unwisely” may well be the understatement of the year.

The project has gone through several iterations since then. Even El Chapo’s conviction and life imprisonment hasn’t stopped some people involved in the project from hoping to keep it moving. There are probably stranger making-of stories out there, but this one might well

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