Relativity will produce the pic with Atmosphere Entertainment MM. Spanish helmer Enrique Urbizu will direct from a screenplay by “Nostradamus” scribe Piers Ashworth. Michael Kane wrote the original draft.
Pic centers on the war between Escobar and General Hugo Martinez, whose life rights Relativity also acquired. Simon Strong’s tome “Whitewash: Pablo Escobar and the Cocaine Wars” — also scooped up by Relativity — provided source material for the film.
The pic’s title comes from an oft-used phrase from Escobar, “Plato o Plomo,” according to a release from the studio announcing the news on Tuesday. The notorious crime lord forced victims to choose between accepting his bribes or death.
Martinez faces this decision in Ashworth’s script when he refuses Escobar’s $6 million bribe to call off his manhunt for the kingpin. Relativity’s action drama will tell Martinez’s tale as he tries to bring Escobar to justice.
Mark Canton, Donald Kushner and Leigh Ann Burton will produce along with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and president Tucker Tooley. Atmosphere’s David Hopwood will co-produce.
“The story of Pablo Escobar has been one of Hollywood’s hottest properties for many years,” Canton, a former Sony exec, said in a statement. “I’ve been interested in making an Escobar film since my days at Sony, but never had a project that approached the story from an angle that I felt worked. This one does, with an exciting screenplay whose structure is reminiscent of The Untouchables. I’m pleased that Donald, Leigh Ann and I will be producing it with Relativity.”
Relativity also acquired the life rights for Joe Toft, the former chief of the Bogota office of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) who was involved in the pursuit, capture and death of Escobar.
Resolution reps Urbizu and Ashworth, the latter of whom is also repped by the Casarotto Ramsey Agency. Attorney Lev Ginsberg reps both filmmakers.
Relativity’s Jason Barhydt will oversee the project for Relativity.