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Berlin: Radius-TWC Pays $2 Million For Pablo Escobar Pic ‘Paradise Lost’

Mike Fleming

escobaEXCLUSIVE: Radius-TWC has closed a deal to pay $2 million to Pathe for North American rights to Paradise Lost. The Andrea Di Stefano-directed film stars The Hunger GamesJosh Hutcherson as a young surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls in love with the country, especially when he meets and marries the gorgeous girl of his dreams. Then he finds himself sucked into the family business. She’s the niece of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who’s played by Benicio Del Toro. The film also stars Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene’s Brady Corbet and newcomer Claudia Traisac.


The film has been slated for release later this year by Radius, whose presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego have now made three deals during an otherwise sluggish Berlin (not counting TWC’s $7 million acquisition of The Imitation Game). Radius also snapped up the Salma Hayek thriller Everly and the Danish horror pic When Animals Dream. The label’s got some momentum, with two Oscar nominations for the docus 20 Feet From Stardom and Cutie And The Boxer.

Paradise Lost is produced by Dimitri Rassam and and co-produced by Romain Le Grand on behalf of Pathe and Frédérique Dumas on behalf of Orange Studio. Miguel Angel Faura from Spain’s Roxbury and Belgium’s uMedia also co-produced.

traisQuinn and Janego confirmed the deal. “We have been tracking this project for months and could not be more energized by Benicio’s  outstanding performance, Josh’s extraordinary turn and Claudia Traisac’s star-making role,” the pair said. “Di Stefano has delivered the goods and we feel privileged to be working alongside him on this fantastic film.” Read More »

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Relativity To Distribute ‘King Of Cocaine’; How John Leguizamo Won Pablo Escobar Role

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 10:31am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Media has signed on for King Of Cocaine, and the long-gestating Brad Furman-directed biopic of Medellin Cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar is finally in shape to start production in Colombia in January. In an intriguing development, John Leguizamo has been set to play the lead role. After watching actors from Oscar Isaac to Benecio Del Toro circle this and other Escobar pics, Leguizamo got the job basically because he refused to take no for an answer, a trait that Escobar could probably relate to if he was still alive.

Leguizamo, who was born in Colombia, has long felt he was born to play the role of Escobar, who rose from poverty to riches as a notorious drug kingpin until his murderous reign ended in a hail of bullets in 1993. How did Leguizamo get the job? Furman made his first film with Leguizamo, The Take, and he has always credited the actor with giving him his directing career. He wanted Leguizamo from the start. But the foreign sales numbers didn’t work. They worked better with actors like Oscar Isaac.

After Inside Llewyn Davis star Isaac dropped out, Leguizamo was once again told no by producer/financier Scott Steindorff, with whom he had just worked in the Jon Favreau-directed Chef. Leguizamo then went out and spent upwards of $15,000 of his own money for a fat suit and prosthetic makeup that rendered him a dead ringer for Escobar at his prime. Leguizamo and Furman filmed a screen test, and got it to Steindorff, who once again said no. Furman fought for it and got the producer to submit it to Relativity execs, without disclosing the identity of the actor. It not only showed him portraying Escobar, it even had a split screen comparison to the actual drug kingpin. Relativity’s Tucker Tooley and Ryan Kavanaugh for the test enough to ask who the actor was. Furman told them, and suddenly they took Leguizamo seriously. He was hired shortly after to star in the $25 million film. If this gives Leguizamo a new identity, it follows a tradition of examples that include the time that Coppola shot Al Pacino from low angle to get him The Godfather lead and did the famous test with Marlon Brando, who stuffed cotton in his cheeks. Or the time that Elijah Wood went Middle Earth for his own screen test and won over Peter Jackson for The Lord Of The Rings. Read More »

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Cannes: Oscar Isaac To Star As Pablo Escobar In Relativity Pic Helmed By Brad Furman

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Brad Furman will finally get behind the camera on a feature film about Colombian drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar. The Lincoln Lawyer director has long sought a way into a biopic of Escobar and now has Inside Llewyn Davis star Oscar Isaac aboard for the lead role, which is based on the Black List script by Matt Aldrich. Isaac will be in a lot of conversations before and after that Coen brothers pic comes out December 6. Relativity Media is the distributor and will sell the project in Cannes. Raging Bull Entertainment’s Joseph Khouri and Joe Isgro will produce with Scott Pictures’ Scott Steindorff, Film 360′s Scott Lambert, Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley. Scott Lastaiti and Dylan Russell are exec producing. Filming begins in September in Colombia. Steindorff is producing and funding Jane Got Gun, the pic that finally came together with a final piece of casting in Ewan McGregor, who stars with Natalie Portman, Noah Emmerich and Joel Edgerton. The pic is near the end of production under helmer Gavin O’Connor.

Isaac is repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment, Furman by CAA and Aldrich by CAA and Jewerl Ross.

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Brady Corbet Lands Key Role In ‘Paradise Lost’

By | Monday March 25, 2013 @ 11:47am PDT
Mike Fleming

Brady CorbetEXCLUSIVE: Brady Corbet, who stars in the upcoming IFC release Simon Killer, has signed on to star with Benicio Del Toro and Josh Hutcherson in Paradise Lost. The drama is about notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and it was written and marks the directing debut of Andrea di Stefano. Corbet plays the brother of Hutcherson’s character. Hutcherson’s character visits Colombia, meets the love of his life, only to see things go awry when he meets her uncle Pablo. The film will begin production in Panama in March.

Corbet is repped by WME and KillerMoxie.

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Relativity Media Takes On Pablo Escobar Story

By | Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 12:22pm PST
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 … Read More »

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Netflix Eyes Pablo Escobar Series From Gaumont International TV & José Padilha

By | Wednesday February 6, 2013 @ 10:28am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Gaumont International Television and Netflix may soon be re-teaming for a drama series about notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. GIT is producing one of Netflix’s first original series, Eli Roth’s monster thriller Hemlock Grove, which premieres April 19. Now the U.S.-based production arm of European feature studio Gaumont has teamed with another feature director, Brazilian-born Jose Padilha, for Narcos. The series will chronicle the life and death of Escobar, the ruthless boss of the Medellin Cartel and a known terrorist who was also a congressman, a family man and revered by the poor as a new Robin Hood. Padilha, on whose idea the project is based, is slated to oversee and direct the 13-episode first season, which is eying a 2014 debut on Netflix. Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard (Sorcerer’s Apprentice) are writing. Eric Newman (Children Of Men) will executive produce. Read More »

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