Puerto Rican-born actor Benicio del Toro will play notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in “Paradise Lost,” a new film set to start filming in Panama next week.
The actor who as already seen immense success with films such as 21 Grams, Traffic and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, will play perhaps one of his most interesting roles, Pablo Escobar, the deceased head of the Medellin drug cartel that terrorized Colombia during the 1980s and 1990s. The drug kingpin was both loathed and revered by Colombian citizens, making his duality a possible challenge for the Academy Award-winning actor. Although, del Toro has experienced playing a character both adored and hated by opposite sides of the political spectrum when he played Che Guevara in the 2008 film, “Che.”
“Paradise Lost.” will apparently not follow the life of the famous cocaine drug lord but rather the romance that Escobar’s niece had with a surfer when he visited Colombia. The plot is based on true events.
“[Del Toro is] one of the rare actors with enough charisma and range to play such a multi-faceted character as Escobar, who could be wonderfully charming yet dangerous and menacing,” said the film’s producer Dimitri Rassam in a November interview with Variety.