Everybody loves a good cinematic man-hunt, and that’s exactly what is on the cards now that Universal has acquired the rights to The Hunt For El Chapo – a New Yorker article written by Patrick Radden Keefe, and published in May 2014. The article looks at the capture of legendary Mexican drug cartel boss, Joaquin Guzman, and is being adapted for the screen by Craig Borten (Dallas Buyers Club), with Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Lone Survivor) now attached to produce and direct.
Joaquin Guzman led the Sinaloa Cartel, and consequently became the most powerful drug kingpin in 2003, when his closest rival was arrested. In 2011, he was named by Forbes Magazine as the 10th richest man in Mexico, and was listed among the most powerful people in the world, having established a drug empire with distribution cells across the US. These dubious achievements are all the more shocking given that Guzman allegedly bribed prison guards and escaped a federal maximum-security prison in 2001, where he was serving a 20 year sentence for murder and drug trafficking. With INTERPOL and the governments of both Mexico and the US on his tail, he evaded capture until February 2014.
The hunt itself involved many agencies from both sides of the border – including the DEA, the US Marshalls Service, the Guatemalan Army and, ultimately, the Mexican Navy, among others. The sprawling nature of the tale means that casting choices will be numerous, and interesting. In addition to the wide range of legal authorities involved, there are Guzman’s own associates, his several wives and, of course, the man himself. Guzman was famous for his distinctive, short stature, so this role – which is sure to be hotly contested – will be particularly fascinating in terms of casting. With accomplished director Peter Berg at the helm, however, The Hunt For El Chapo is sure to be a film worth waiting for.