Mike Fleming

Pablo EscobarBREAKING: Relativity Media acquired Silver Or Lead, a script that tells the story behind the manhunt for cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Relativity will produce the film with Atmosphere Entertainment MM. Enrique Urbizu, whose gritty crime thriller No Rest For The Wicked swept the Spanish Goya’s last year, will direct from a screenplay by British writer Piers Ashworth (Nostradamus, St. Trinian’s), which he developed from an original draft by Michael Kane. I feel like this is the umpteenth attempt to tell the story of Escobar’s rise and downfall, but maybe Relativity will finally get it done. The film focuses on the personal war between Escobar and General Hugo Martinez, whose life rights are part of the deal as are rights to Joe Toft, the former chief of the Bogota office of the Drug Enforcement Agency who was involved in the pursuit, capture and death of Escobar. Source material for the film is provided by author Simon Strong’s award-winning book Whitewash: Pablo Escobar And The Cocaine Wars was also acquired by Relativity.

The film’s unique title comes from a famous Escobar phrase, “Plata o Plomo.” The choice was to take riches, or a bullet. This is the choice that General Hugo Martinez faces when he refuses a $6 million bribe by Escobar to call off the manhunt.

Mark Canton, Donald Kushner and Leigh Ann Burton will produce the film alongside Relativity’s CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and president Tucker Tooley. Atmosphere’s David Hopwood is co-producer.

Director Urbizu is represented by Resolution; screenwriter Ashworth is represented by Resolution and the Casarotto Ramsey Agency, and both are also represented by attorney Lev Ginsburg.

Relativity’s Jason Barhydt will oversee the project for the studio.

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