Many among our readership may well have heard of one Pablo Escobar. He was the head of the Medellin Cartel and the single most powerful drug-lord that the cocaine trade-addled South American continent had ever seen. His men were never arrested, they killed a fat handful of police officers every single week at his instruction. He was very scary, is what we’re saying. Alarming levels of violence go hand in hand with the drug trade, reality is more frightening than any gruesome fiction and Escobar could have happily killed you with his dodgy moustache.
For those who haven’t heard of him, some Americans might be able to help. One such free citizen is George “Boston George” Jung, the self-made Massachusetts-born coke kingpin played by Johnny Depp in Blow. Released last month after close to 20 years in prison after testifying his way out a three-decade sentence, Jung was one of the few from his home turf to not only meet Escobar in person but to go into business with him and survive.
The trailer, following the latest fashion for short and obnoxiously sparse preview clips, gives nothing more away. What we can get excited about, however, is the re-emergence of Benicio del Torro, the seemingly sporadic stock Hispanic gent of Hollywood – apologies and no detriment to his talent, but it’s true – who is set to appear in three major films this year. Federale Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez of Traffic has now taken the form of Escobar himself, and his performance is likely to overshadow any annoying plot lines. If I were Hutcherson, who’s made most of his pocket money via The Hunger Games, I’d be worried about sharing the screen with him.
Directed by an Italian, jointly produced by French and Spanish firms and cast with English-speaking actors, it’s certainly still a cosmopolitan project. Andre Di Stefano studied at the world-renowned Actors’ Studio in New York and has worked mainly in front of the camera – most if not all of his screen credits being Italian films and TV series – rather than behind it, so it should be interesting to see how he handles a major feature.
That’s about all have to go on, really. We Del Toro fans can only hope the credits roll before Escobar’s eventual death by large-scale firefight, the result of a months-long campaign fuelled by hundreds of millions of dollars and the combined efforts of the Colombian Police, the US Joint Special Operations Command, the DEA and a gang of local vigilantes known as Los Pepes. Instead, we’ll likely see the pasty Californian quiver in fear for ninety minutes before making his McAvoy-esque escape (hopefully not with the girl in tow).
One other thing – they could probably have picked a better title. Half-baked homage, aesthetic reference or otherwise, doesn’t pay to make yourself un-Googleable via better known namesakes.