Proving that he has the financial chutzpah to portray famed Colombian drug magnate Pablo Escobar, John Leguizamo went to great lengths to prove himself to the creative team behind the upcoming King of Cocaine, one of two Escobar-themed films currently in development (the other, Paradise Lost, stars Benicio del Toro).
To what lengths did Leguizamo go? Well, he did what anyone would do in his situation – invested $15,000 of his own money on prosthetics, to prove that he was up to the task. Director Brad Furman (whose previous work The Lincoln Lawyer also starred John Leguizamo) already wanted Leguizamo for the role, but producer and financier Scott Steindorff remained unconvinced that the diminutive actor could convincingly take on the role. In an Escobaresque duplicitous scheme, Furman convinced the disbelieving Stendorff to submit make-up tests to production company Relativity, without attaching Leguizamo’s name, and it worked. Once Relativity saw the results of Leguizamo’s investment side-by-side with actual pictures of Escobar himself, common sense won the day, and Leguizamo was cast.
The Lincoln Lawyer wasn’t Brad Furman’s first film featuring John Leguizamo; he also starred in the director’s debut, The Take, so the two have a bond that spans the ages. If successful in this role, the sky is the limit for John Leguizamo, who has long proven himself capable in supporting roles and is surely due a shot at the big time. The Lincoln Lawyer is popularly seen as the project that began Matthew McConaughey’s astounding turn from windswept surfer into a serious acting force. If Brad Furman’s long-gestating King of Cocaine can have the same rejuvenating effect on John Leguizamo’s career then his $15,000 outlay will undoubtedly have been worth it, and maybe we should all go buy fatsuits.