Security concern cause for 'Queen' departures

The escalating drug cartel violence in Mexico is taking its toll on Hollywood.

Security concerns over the movie adaptation of Mexican drug-cartel-themed novel “Queen of the South” have forced helmer-scribe Jonathan Jakubowicz and co-producers Elizabeth Avellan and Sandra Condito to pull out of the pic.

“I have worked really hard to make this beautiful movie, but the safety of my family and my team comes first, and making this movie put us all at risk, not only in Mexico but in the U.S.,” said Jakubowicz.

News comes on the heels of Telemundo’s deal to make a telenovela based on the same property by Spain’s Arturo Perez-Reverte.

“I wish Telemundo the best with their telenovela but beg those involved to be responsible and mindful of the dangerous territory the subject matter inevitably gets them into,” Jakubowicz added. “We wanted to shoot in the city of Culiacan in Sinaloa, northern Mexico, the epicenter of the drug wars, but it just wasn’t possible. The world should pray for peace in Mexico.”

If the project pushes through, it will be shot in Spain, where the remaining producers, Origen PC and Plural Entertainment, are based. Plural, the rights-holder, declined to comment.

Avellan and Condito cited security concerns and a lack of focus in their decision to drop the project. “We are doers, and this was taking too long,” said Condito. “We have two movies about to go, which would have conflicted anyway.”

Pic and its cast of Eva Mendes, Josh Hartnett and Ben Kingsley were announced in May. Before that, the project had been at the now-defunct Warner Independent, where it was put in turnaround. 

“Queen of the South” is about a Mexican woman who flees to Spain after her drug-runner boyfriend is slain. She eventually becomes the reigning drug smuggler in Spain, where she seeks to avenge her lover’s assassination.

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