Kate del Castillo: Meet the Star Playing a Big Part in El Chapo’s Real-Life Drama

Kate del Castillo El Chapo Sean
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Telenovela actress' next role in Netflix drama called into question

Mexican actress Kate del Castillo is suddenly starring in a real-life telenovela as details surface about her role in orchestrating the October meeting between Sean Penn and the then-fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Guzman was recaptured by Mexican authorities on Friday after escaping federal prison in July through a tunnel dug from his cell. Del Castillo and Penn are under investigation by Mexican authorities, who indicated that their visit to Guzman helped them capture one of the world’s most-wanted men.

Penn’s story in Rolling Stone makes it clear that del Castillo was the key instigator of the meeting thanks to Guzman’s appreciation for the 43-year-old telenovela star. Del Castillo came into contact with El Chapo after after declaring polemically on social media in 2012 that “today I believe more in Chapo Guzman than in governments.” She called on him to become a kind of Robin Hood in Mexico: “You would become a hero of heroes. Let’s traffic in love, you know how.”

Del Castillo, who is said to split her time between homes in Los Angeles and Mexico City, has been aggressively pursuing biopic rights to Guzman’s life story with the intent of producing the movie herself — as evidenced by the “All rights reserved, Kate del Castillo Productions. Copyright 2016” tag on the two-minute video of Guzman that Rolling Stone posted with Penn’s story. The actress is repped by CAA.

The life-imitates-art aspects of del Castillo’s association with Guzman are considerable. Del Castillo scored a massive hit for NBCUniversal’s Telemundo network in 2011 in “La Reina del Sur” (Queen of the South), in which she played the ruthless leader of a drug cartel in Spain. She also played a drug trafficker in the 2012 Telemundo novela “Duenos del Paraiso” (Masters of Paradise) set in 1970s Miami. In 2009, she played a Mexican crime boss in the fifth season of Showtime’s “Weeds.”

A rep for del Castillo said on Sunday that her camp had no comment on the El Chapo saga.

At present, del Castillo is set to star in Netflix’s Spanish-language series “Ingobernable,” playing the wife of the president of Mexico. Netflix confirmed the show was still on schedule to shoot this year but they had no other comment regarding del Castillo.

Netflix gave the series a 20-episode order in July. “Ingobernable” hails from Mexico’s Argos Comunicacion and was believed to be scheduled to begin shooting in Mexico in the near future, directed by José Luis García Agraz and Pedro Pablo Ibarra. That plan could be complicated if del Castillo winds up facing legal problems in Mexico.

“La Reina del Sur” was such a smash for Telemundo that the channel broke ground for the industry by mounting an Emmy nomination campaign for del Castillo. Telemundo’s NBCU sibling USA Network has an English-language rendition of “Queen of the South” starring Alice Braga on tap to premiere this year.

Those who have worked with del Castillo say she is a formidable woman — a talented actress but also a big personality with charisma to spare. She’s one of Latin America’s biggest stars and thus her personal life plays out on the public stage. She was married to soccer star Luis Garcia from 2001 to 2004 and to actor Aaron Diaz from 2009 to 2011. She was named one of People en Espanol’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in 2007. She has a massive social media audience including more than 2.5 million Twitter followers, though she has remained silent since the news of her visit to El Chapo broke on Saturday.

Del Castillo has been vocal about her decision to focus on her career, take controversial stands on issues and her willingness to buck conventional roles for woman. She’s also been active with humanitarian causes and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among other groups.

“I’ve never wanted to be a mom,” del Castillo told People en Espanol earlier this year. “I don’t know if one day I will want to be, but if I would have wanted to be, I would have been one a long time ago. I’m not scared of marriage, but I don’t believe in the institution. To love someone, you don’t have to sign a paper. It’s something man created for profit, to create problems and fears.”

Born in Mexico City, del Castillo is the daughter of well-known Mexican actor Eric del Castillo. She began acting as a youth but didn’t hit big until her role in the 1991 Televisa novela “Muchachitas.” She gained fame by touring Latin America and other regions with the play “Love Letters.”

More recently, the actress is said to have focused on boosting her profile in English-language TV. She’s been a recurring guest star this season on CW’s “Jane the Virgin.” She’s also had guest shots on NBC’s “Grimm” and CBS’ “CSI: Miami.” Her English-lingo movie appearances including the 2007 Sundance film festival favorite “Under the Same Moon” and Gregory Nava’s 2006 drama “Bordertown” and the 2014 thriller “No Good Deed.” She also was part of the voice cast for the 2011 animated film “Rio” and 2014’s “The Book of Life.”

Del Castillo has not been shy about criticizing the Mexican government for what she sees as its shortcomings in improving living conditions for the poor. She’s also been active with humanitarian orgs on the issue of human trafficking and with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among other groups.

As the details of her clandestine trek with Penn emerged, the actress was quick to face criticism in Mexico for associating herself with Guzman.

Mexico’s El Universal newspaper opined on Saturday that del Castillo became “a kind of public-relations for Joaquin El Chapo Guzman and the head of the film project about the most wanted narco in Mexico.”

Del Castillo’s efforts to mount the film project have also drawn scrutiny. Mexico’s Attorney General identified her as the producer of an autobiographical film that Guzman wanted to make on his life. And authorities claim that it was her trip with Penn to meet Guzman — an elaborate cloak and dagger caper as detailed in Penn’s story — that helped lead authorities to their target.

Guzman’s lawyers contacted del Castillo in 2014, according to El Universal. Del Castillo went as far as to reach out to an unidentified Argentine director to write a screenplay.

The newspaper also reported that Guzman’s lawyers also reached out to the actress to ask her to attempt to stop the release of a Mexican film, “El Chapo: El Escape del Siglo” (El Chapo: The Escape of the Century) which bows in Mexico Jan. 15 on 300 screens. Directed by Axel Uriegas, the movie anticipates El Chapo’s recapture.

Guzman’s outreach to del Castillo and Penn recalls a similar scenario a century ago when legendary Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa turned to Hollywood producer D.W. Griffith and Mutual Film Co. Villa negotiated a deal for his life rights to help fund his guerrilla army, complete with a promise to film battles in the uprising as they happened.

The end result was the 1914 drama “The Life of General Villa,” which also featured future director Raoul Walsh playing Villa in his younger days. The story of Villa’s Hollywood moment was recounted in the 2003 HBO telepic “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself,” which starred Antonio Banderas.

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  1. halli says:

    Sinaloa Cartel (El Chapo’s Boys) is goonna wanna chat.

  2. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    “Del Castillo came into contact with El Chapo after after declaring polemically on social media in 2012 that “today I believe more in Chapo Guzman than in governments.” She called on him to become a kind of Robin Hood in Mexico: “You would become a hero of heroes. Let’s traffic in love, you know how.”’

    Even Ms del Castillo’s father, Erik del Castillo, OWES his movie career to what was once a PRI-dominated ANDA. (The Mexican version of SAG.)

  3. Mr. Shelley says:

    Sean Penn, movie star??? No, “Movie jerk”

  4. Dellie Q. says:

    Kate del Castillo has been a popular actress in Mexico since very young. After “Free Willy” it was decided that the orca killer whale Keiko who was in an amusement park in Mexico City (as showed in the film) was sick and had to be “shipped” to an aquarium in Oregon.

    To take advantage of the major whale move, Televisa decided to make a telenovela around the event, since Keiko is considered a national treasure. That telenovela was Azul, starring Kate del Castillo in the lead in 1996. She played Keiko¡s trainer and all the logistics of moving Keiko in a UPS plane were documented and were part of the narrative of the tv show.

  5. taffy says:

    I hope the stupid treasonist enjoys having to constantly look over her shoulder for the rest of her no doubt shortened life now that she’s ticked off El Chapo’s gang. This reminds me of the Eli Roth movie Green Inferno – bleeding heart do-gooder liberals who stupidly put themselves in danger by siding with the enemy until it’s too late.

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      Taffy, cannibals are the “enemy”???

    • Julie Turek says:

      She did nothing wrong on either side-she provided no material support to Guzman, and did not aid directly in his capture. So, since she is Mexican, how is this treason?

      • 1coolguy says:

        Please pull your head out before you suffocate on such mindless trash.
        This scum that she is so enamored with has been sought by the MEXICAN police for over 10 years for TREASON, MURDER and KIDNAPPING, in addition to the usual drug lord crap, running drugs.
        On second thought, don’t pull your head of and do suffocate, a much better solution for your tripe.

  6. Mike P says:

    now el chapo will put a ransom for their heads, because he will think he was set up. So they should watch their backs. Sean Penn and Kate be careful, this guy does not care about your stardom, he will kill you in one second.

  7. thesickmanofeurope says:

    Women simply can’t resist an Alpha male! EVER!
    It dos not matter how fat and repulsive and evil the man is…….If he is Powerful…dominant….and wealthy then panties will be moistened!

  8. Jim Allen says:

    Amazing what people will do to gain fame and fortune. How sick. And anyone who is involved with PETA….well, no comment really necessary.

    • ease says:

      PETA is a great organization that makes the world a better place for all living beings.

      Her involvement is purely to show why the cartel exists not to condone his actions.

      Blame the US for this problem. It’s been our involvement in latin America that’s created so much turmoil. Look up War on Democracy and CIA.

      • 1coolguy says:

        Blame the US for the drugs the guy sends into teh US? For the hundreds (maybe thousands) of lives he is responsible for killing? It’s lazy people like you that I just wish would move to that perfect country you know so much about.
        And yes, I too am all for People Eating Tasty Animals!

  9. Barbara desideri says:

    Why are you glorifing the life of a drug dealer then you wonder why violence is so rapid in the world .TV shows movies sure pay him give him money for good lawyers.so he can get away with it.the USA needs help.

  10. She’s human garbage. His inhuman escapades of burning people alive in 55 gallon drums, dismembering people with chainsaws is what makes her excited? drop her off in the middle of his old territory now that she’s had a hand in tipping off police and see how she is treated by Chapos old guard. Sean Penn is a piece of sh*t as well, always has been.

  11. 1coolguy says:

    “not scared of marriage, but I don’t believe in the institution. To love someone, you don’t have to sign a paper. It’s something man created for profit, to create problems and fears.””
    Apparently of the 107 billion people that have ever lived and probably 50 billion + that have been married, they have been part of a man-made conspiracy for profit. Uh-uh.
    I would guess she is in a remarkably small minority and that a psychologist would love to get her in their office.
    As she obviously was in continual contact with a criminal that was wanted in multiple countries with bounties on his head, isn’t she complicit in his evasion from the law?
    I suggest she be arrested for harboring a fugitive, among other charges.

  12. Deport her. She is a despicable human being who supports a man who is responsible for over 34,000 deaths.

    Something tells me she would have seen Hitler as a misunderstood Robin Hood had she been alive in the 1930s-40s.

  13. David Bartha says:

    Aiding & Abetting a known fugitive
    . She can be his cellmate!

  14. Alex says:

    Was this done so CAA could help put together a movie deal?

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