Despite claims by other outlets that the Oscar winner is trying to block the three-episode series by the Mexican actress, Deadline has learned that Penn’s sole aim was to see his part in the infamous October 2015 meeting with drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera depicted accurately. An aim augmented by concerns for his safety that has met with silence from both the streaming service and producers at 25/7 Productions, we hear.
The 25/7 Production series alleges that the Oscar winner gave the Department of Justice a heads-up on the get-together with the runaway and ruthless El Chapo.
“This is nothing but a cheap, National Enquirer-esque tale spun be a delusional person whose hunger for fame is both tawdry and transparent,” a spokesperson for Penn told Deadline today of the series that premieres early Friday on Netflix.
Penn later wrote about the meeting in a much criticized and widely read Rolling Stone article that came out just after the hiding Guzman was captured by Mexican authorities in early 2016. At the time, anonymous Mexican law enforcement officials claimed that Penn and del Castillo’s meeting with Guzmán led them to the drug lord. Claims that Penn disputed and have since faded.
“It is reprehensible that, in their ongoing, relentless efforts to gain additional attention and publicity, Ms. del Castillo and her team (who have zero firsthand knowledge) have sought to create this profoundly false, foolish, and reckless narrative,” a spokesperson for Penn added Thursday of the El Chapo series that Netflix is distributing. “The notion that Mr. Penn or anyone on his behalf alerted DOJ to the trip is a complete fabrication and bald-faced lie,” the statement adds. “It never happened, nor would there have been any reason for it to have happened.”
Neither Netflix nor the El Chapo producers responded to request for comment on Penn’s concerns. “Sean Penn was not trying to kill this or stop this, he just wanted to see it and then thought it need a re-edit,” a source tells Deadline of the actor’s original desire when he was made aware of the project.
In fact, a move by Penn’s CAA agent Bryan Lourd to get the actor a viewing of the finished product also hit a wall initially. When Penn did finally see the El Chapo series just over a month ago, he asked for it to be edited to more closely reflect what he said was the truth. Lawyers for Penn also informed Netflix in correspondence that the Mystic River star was worried associates of El Chapo would potentially seek revenge against the actor.
As can been seen from the trailer below, the El Chapo series mainly focuses on del Castillo, who’s political thriller Ingobernable series was renewed in April for a second season with Netflix.
Having escaped from a Mexican prison in July 2015, the recaptured Guzman was extradited to the U.S. by our southern neighbor’s government in January to face American justice over criminal activity from his role as the head of the Sinaloa cartel.