When one controversial South American isn’t enough, you go toward another. So it is for Benicio del Toro, who Variety pegs as the likely candidate to play drug lord / personal model (kidding?) Pablo Escobar in a don’t-call-it-a-biopic depiction known as Paradise Lost. Instead of something akin to Che, this one is said to be more in line with, rather thankfully, the Last King of Scotland model; let that also be the rare instance in which Kevin Macdonald has an upper hand on Steven Soderbergh.
Beating Joe Carnahan and Brad Furman to the punch is Andrea di Stefano, the Life of Pi screenwriter who’s penned what’s likely to become his first directorial outing: the true-ish story of Nick, a surfer dude who, whilst visiting his brother in Colombia, encounters a dame by the name of Maria. It’s a peaches and cream romance until it turns out her uncle is Pablo Escobar, a man not well-known for his kind disposition toward enemies. Nick is sure to bring an extra-nice gift when he comes over for dinner.
As you can probably glean from that little, Paradise Lost is far more focused on this young man than the legendary figure — which would account for its status as a romantic thriller — making him, again, the James McAvoy to this film’s Forest Whitaker. Producer Dimitri Rassam clarifies a bit further, noting that di Stefano‘s script weaves “Nick and Maria’s romance with Nick’s ambivalent and destructive relationship with Escobar,” creating a balance which should hit a few dramatic points. Having del Toro in the seat of those pants should make room for both a great performance and good entertainment — one point is cleared, is what I’m trying to say — which, somewhat unfortunately, makes choosing a suitable co-star all the more challenging. Best of luck to them, because I like the cut of Paradise Lost‘s jib.
Chapter 2, Studio 37, and Pathe are producing the film for a March commencement.
Does the set-up for di Stefano’s picture have you optimistic? What do you think of del Toro in the role?
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