Benicio del Toro to Play Cocaine King Pablo Escobar in 'Paradise Lost'
Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has fascinated Hollywood for decades. The Grey director Joe Carnahan has been trying to direct his take on the story Killing Pablo for years, once with Javier Bardem and Christian Bale attached and Edgar Ramirez was in talks to play him in two competing films. Plus, The Lincoln Lawyer director Brad Furman has his own project about Escobar in the works. But now it looks like one will finally get made, as Variety reports that Benicio del Toro has signed on to play the iconic figure in a new film called Paradise Lost for Italian director Andrea di Stefano, who also wrote this screenplay. Read on!
Paradise Lost takes an interesting angle on Escobar, using him as a tangential figure to the main story. The plot surrounds Nick, a surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls in love with a gorgeous local girl named Maria. But the couple's peaceful romance is disrupted when Nick discovers that Pablo Escobar is Maria's uncle. The film's structure is being compared to The Last King of Scotland, another movie based on a true story which won Forest Whitaker an Oscar in 2007.
All of this boils down to one thing: "Entourage" has a decent track record predicting this kind of stuff. While Martin Scorsese didn't direct a version of The Great Gatsby, we have one coming next summer from Baz Luhrmann, and though James Cameron never actually got around to directing Aquaman, similar superhero films shot up left and right, culminating this summer with The Avengers as the third highest grossing film of all time. Now their fake Pablo Escobar story, Medellín, is getting the real Hollywood treatment here, and maybe we'll actually see that rumored Entourage movie sometime soon. Either way, Paradise Lost sounds like it will use Escobar in an interesting way, and perhaps del Toro will be lucky enough to replicate Whitaker's Oscar success. Thoughts?