Despite emerging from America’s war on drugs as a billionaire gangster antihero, the closest that Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has ever come to getting a major film treatment was the Vinnie Chase vehicle Medellin on Entourage. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the late Escobar is finally getting his moment in the spotlight with Escobar, a biopic starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz and directed by Familia’s Fernando Leon de Aranoa.
Escobar will be based on Virginia Vallejo’s 2008 best-selling Spanish-language memoir Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar. Vallejo is a journalist who was granted asylum in the U.S. after her work exposing Colombian government corruption and connections to cartels led to numerous death threats; in her memoir, she describes both her romantic relationship with Escobar and the rapid growth of the cocaine industry in Colombia. The movie will chart the rise of Escobar, a former petty thief and kidnapper who built a cocaine empire worth over $3 billion before being gunned down in a police raid in 1993.