By Raul Cortes.
The spectacular escape of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman from prison last July had all the ingredients for a movie and a feature film chronicling his breakout will hit Mexican theaters on Jan. 15, the distributor told EFE.
"Chapo. El escape del siglo" (Chapo: The Escape of the Century), directed by Axel Uriegas, will be screened at between 120 and 300 theaters across the country, Dragon Films representative Carlos Olivares said.
The film is cloaked in mystery since the producers have not released much information about the story, but Olivares revealed that this would be the first chapter in a Guzman saga.
"It will be a series of four movies telling 'El Chapo's' life in reverse. The first is about his escape, his human side, and Mexico's political situation," Olivares said.
The secrecy surrounding the production has raised the profile of the little-known team working on the movie, starting with the director.
The 36-year-old Uriegas has so far worked on second-tier projects, such as the Mexican movie "Casi divas" and Hollywood movies, including "The Legend of Zorro."
The actors are not famous either. Irineo Alvarez, who plays El Chapo, has a long list of secondary roles on Latino TV soap operas, such as "El señor de los cielos" and "Capadocia."
"That was the intent, not to have a well-known actor so that there wouldn't be any preconceived ideas" about how the main character would be presented, Olivares said.
In the 90-second trailer for the film, Alvarez says: "There's good money in this business and enough for everyone, but when people want more than they deserve, that's where treason comes in."
The fictional Guzman also provides the motive for his July 11 escape through a 1.5-kilometer (one-mile) tunnel connecting his cell at the Altiplano maximum-security prison to an abandoned house.
"I began noticing that the 'gringos' (Americans) and the president were cooking something. It didn't feel right to me, so I ordered the tunnel built," Chapo says, referring to the extradition request from the United States.
Guzman, who was born in 1957, got his start in the drug business as a lieutenant of Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo, the top leader of the Guadalajara cartel, in the 1980s.
Felix-Gallardo's arrest and prosecution in 1989 led to the Guadalajara cartel being divided up and Guzman relocating to Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, and founding the Sinaloa cartel.
Guzman was eventually captured in 1993 in Guatemala and sent back to Mexico, where he was convicted on bribery charges.
On Jan. 19, 2001, Guzman escaped from the Puente Grande penitentiary in the western state of Jalisco, pulling off the Hollywood-style jailbreak by hiding in a cart full of dirty laundry in front of guards.
Mexican authorities finally caught up with him in February 2014 in the resort town of Mazatlan.
After his second escape, authorities said in October they were close to capturing the drug lord again in a hilly area in Sinaloa and he apparently sustained injuries to his face and a leg.
There have been rumors about Guzman's whereabouts, several of them placing him in different places in Latin America, a topic that the movie also touches on.
"Honey, why don't we go to Brazil?" a woman with an Argentine accent asks in the trailer.
Only the real Guzman has the answer. EFE