After waiting through nearly five years of development, producer Bob Yari is putting his “passion project” — a biopic about slain Medellin drug lord Pablo Escobar — on the fast track.
Variety reports that the Yari Film Group has signed Javier Bardem to play Escobar, and Christian Bale to take on the role of Escobar’s nemesis, Delta Force commander Major Steve Jacoby. Joe Carnahan is on board to direct the film, which is titled Killing Pablo, and will be based on Mark Bowden‘s book Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw.
Escobar’s infamy has proven inspirational for a number of creative types. From the article:
Escobar’s rise as a leader of the drug cartel in Medellin, Colombia, began in the 1970s. After years of terrorizing police and political leaders, Escobar was targeted in 1992 by a coalition of Colombian police and military, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the CIA; he was killed the following year.
Reflecting his notoriety, Escobar served as the basis for the drug kingpin in Tom Clancy’s “Clear and Present Danger“; the airport in the videogame “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” is named after him; and a story arc about a fictional biopic of the druglord — “Medellin” — has run through multiple seasons of HBO’s “Entourage.”
The article says the film could begin shooting next June — if the writers’, actors’, and directors’ guilds don’t strike — and whenever it comes out, it’ll apparently have to contend with another Escobar biopic. The other film, titled simply Escobar, is listed at the IMDB as being directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak from a script by Greg Mellott and Richard Rionda del Castro. The script, incidentally, has been read by Carnahan. He didn’t care for it.
In a post at his blog, published September 21, “Smokin’ Joe” insists he isn’t “a hater” before railing against the Escobar script, saying:
Wow. If you’re gonna make a movie about Pablo you gotta do better then some hackneyed, hagiographic ‘Scarface‘ knockoff. It would’ve been great if the script had been solid. Stern competition is good for the soul…but this one is so lacking in the very basic tenets of dramatic storytelling that it comes off as this amateurish, cardboard account of what was the single greatest criminal legacy of the last century.
And they better hope Pablo is actually dead. He gets wind of this script and it’ll create marked men overnight and have fresh bullets flying anew.
How’s that direct-to-video Smokin’ Aces prequel coming, Joe?