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Filmmakers at Golden Globes Weigh in on Sean Penn, Possible El Chapo Movie

The stranger-than-fiction story of actors Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo’s meeting with fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was the subject of much discussion — some serious, some silly — on the Golden Globe Awards red carpet.

Here’s a sampling of showbiz reactions to what some joked was an incredibly elaborate marketing campaign for a movie that hasn’t shot a frame.

“The Revenant” director and Golden Globe winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu surely would have a feel for a story rooted in characters from his homeland and he’s friendly with Penn. But amid the swirl of “Revenant” activity he hasn’t had the chance to even read Penn’s Rolling Stone expose about his adventures with El Chapo. “I woke up today to the news. I haven’t read the interview. I want to read the interview. It was very long,” he said.

Meanwhile Gael Garcia Bernal, winner for “Mozart in the Jungle,” said he wasn’t ready to comment. “It’s so recent, and me as a Mexican, it’s hard to talk about this subject because it’s a subject that’s very important to me and there are dead people involved. I haven’t read it.”

Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer said he was “a little aware” that del Castillo was mounting a biopic of the enigmatic crime boss who boasted of being the world’s top supplier of methamphetamine and heroin. “I was a little aware of (the biopic project). I’d do anything with Sean Penn.”

Aziz Ansari has a vested interest in the project already. “I’m trying to get my dad to play El Chapo,” he said. “There’s an ethnicity conflict but I’d love to see him in that film.”

“Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy said he wouldn’t consider such a project “without knowing more about the story.”

Director Paul Feig and 20th Century Fox boss Jim Gianopulos joked that they wouldn’t make the El Chapo story but the “El Chapstick” story. “We’ll make that picture,” Gianopulos joked after Feig was fast on his feet. “Or maybe we’ll make the El Cheapo movie,” Feig added.

“The Big Short” director Adam McKay gave curt “no” when asked if he’d have any interest in the movie. But then he seemed to reconsider: “Well, it is kind of about about celebrity…and drug dealing.”

In true Hollywood fashion, producer Steve Golin (who had no less than three nominations for “Spotlight,” “The Revenant” and USA’s “Mr. Robot”), said, “I gotta hear the pitch.”

Could it be a Warner Bros. picture? CEO Kevin Tsujihara paused before saying: “I don’t know. I’m conflicted.”

Judd Apatow was too busy taking wife Leslie Mann into the Hilton to engage in a hypothetical game of “Would you direct it?” but publicist Matt Labov quipped: “How did you know?”

From backstage, “Show Me a Hero” winner Oscar Issac said, “I think it’s pretty cool… It’s a fascinating thing that he got to do that and got to get some incredible details about the story of this man. Doesn’t sound like a very nice guy, but it’s a fascinating story about a human experience.”

Producer Ashok Amritraj had also vaguely heard of del Castillo’s interest in the biopic. He said he’d certainly consider a pitch — and predicted that Guzman might escape from authorities yet again just to juice the story.

Jeff Wachtel, chief content officer of Universal Cable Prods., said he’d be open to hearing a pitch “after I check with legal.”

It’s a pass from director Jason Reitman, a Globe nominee for Hulu’s “Casual” who typically takes on comedies and personal stories. “My plate’s full,” he said.

BBC America chief Sarah Barnett joked that should such a project inexplicably find its way to her network: “we’d craft a very BBC-esque expose on the meta politics behind the whole thing.”


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