RIO DE JANEIRO – Netflix is standing by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, the mediator in the meeting last October between Sean Penn and Mexican narco kingpin “El Chapo” Guzman which, Mexican authorities claim, helped lead to the arrest of the world’s biggest drug-lord.
Originally set for the third week of January, per Mexican media sources, Netflix original series “Ingobernable,” starring del Castillo as Mexico’s first lady, will start production this year, Kari Perez, Netflix director of communications for Latin America, told Variety. Del Castillo is confirmed for the lead role, she added.
Epigmenio Ibarra, founder of Argos Comunicacacion, producer of “Ingobernable,” declined to comment when asked by Variety at the early March’s Guadalajara Film Festival about whether the series would go ahead. In an extensive the New Yorker article on Kate del Castillo, the “Ingobernable” creator expressed his admiration, however, for the star of “La Reina del Sur”: “We thought about the series with Kate in mind for over a year now. Through her past roles, she has redefined what a female character can be in Hispanic television.”
Netflix’s Perez told Variety there were no further details to share at the moment on “Ingobernable.”
One large question is if ‘Ingobernable” could shoot in Mexico. No charges have been brought against del Castillo since her meeting with “El Chapo” Guzman. Mexican government sources are, however, investigating del Castillo for possible money-laundering of the drug-lord’s assets, a charge she rejects. In an interview with Carmen Aristegui, to be aired by CNN Español today, Tuesday, March 22, and tomorrow, del Castillo admits she is “scared” of possible Mexican government reprisals, which could deter her from traveling, at least immediately, to Mexico.
Other Netflix original series are in the works in Latin America. Commencing production on “3%,” its first original series in Brazil, Netflix plans to produce at least two other series in Latin America, one in Brazil and the other in Mexico, in the next 18 months, Erik Barmack, Netflix VP, local originals, told Variety in an exclusive interview during the 2016 Rio Content Market.
“Over the next 18 months, we will certainly be doing a Spanish-language series in Mexico, and then will certainly have at least one other show in Brazil. I would say that is the minimum,” Barmack said. “There is great production in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico. We would like to grow into a position where we have different genres in our major markets.”
Barmack went on: “It is important to participate in international productions for two reasons: We are a global company, and it is great to find the best storytellers in the world. We think these stories will travel around the world.”
Netflix has so far produced two series in Latin America: Gaz Alazraki’s Mexican soccer club comedy “Club de Cuervos,” whose second season is now in preparation, and “Narcos,” in Colombia. It also announced last September its first animated Netflix original series with Latin America, “Las Leyendas,” produced by Mexico’s Anima Estudios.
The first Portuguese-language Netflix original series is “3%.” Commissioned by Netflix, local production company Boutique Filmes began to lense it in Sao Paulo on March 10. “3%” was written by Pedro Aguilera and will have eight episodes of about one hour. The helmer is Cesar Charlone, who was nominated for a 2003 cinematography Academy Award for “City of God” and directed feature “The Pope’s Toilet.” Cast includes the well-known Joao Miguel, Bianca Comparato and Zeze Motta, and a group of young actors, all local. Netflix plans to launch the series by the end of this year.
Per Barmack, “3%” is a post-apocalyptic thriller set in the near future in Brazil, when youngsters must undergo a competitive selection process to be accepted in the top 3% most-advanced part of the society.