×

Sean Penn Steps Up Fight Against Netflix’s El Chapo Series From Kate del Castillo

UPDATED: Sean Penn is turning up the heat on Netflix over the docu series on his infamous 2015 meeting with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Penn is at odds with actress Kate del Castillo over her retelling of the story in “The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story,” which is set to bow Friday. The docu reportedly suggests that Penn alerted U.S. authorities to the fugitive drug lord’s location after Del Castillo arranged a meeting for the two in September 2015. Guzman was arrested about three months after the meeting and is now serving time in the U.S.

Penn spokesman Mark Fabiani on Thursday accused del Castillo of fabricating elements of the story to gain attention for the series. Penn’s retention of Fabiani, known for his crisis PR work, suggests the actor is girding for a PR battle.

TMZ reported Thursday that Penn’s lawyers have implored Netflix to “at the very least, eliminate any references to their client contacting (the Justice Department) prior to meeting Chapo.”

“It is reprehensible that, in their ongoing, relentless efforts to gain additional attention and publicity, Ms. del Castillo and her team (who have zero firsthand knowledge) have sought to create this profoundly false, foolish, and reckless narrative,” Fabiani said. “The notion that Mr. Penn or anyone on his behalf alerted DOJ to the trip is a complete fabrication and bald-faced lie. It never happened, nor would there have been any reason for it to have happened.”

After previewing the series earlier this month, Penn told Variety through a spokeswoman: “Mr. Penn just saw it and hopes to have the opportunity to participate; there are profound inaccuracies and presumptions presented in Kate’s story.”

However, “El Chapo” co-executive producer David Broome, told Variety that he had reached out multiple times to Penn to invite his participation but got no response.

In a statement on Thursday, Netflix said, “Sean Penn was given the opportunity on multiple occasions to participate in ‘The Day I Met El Chapo’ and did not do so. The events surrounding the now-infamous meeting have been well covered, including by Penn himself in Rolling Stone and his many public comments since. The only new ground we’re breaking with this series is to give Kate a chance to finally tell her side of this stranger-than-fiction story.”

At this late hour, it’s unclear if the series will be delayed or modified as a result of Penn’s objections.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • BritBox Is 'Not a Rival to

    BritBox 'Not a Rival to Netflix and Amazon' but Something Different, ITV Exec Says

    BritBox, ITV and the BBC’s joint “best of British” streaming service, is not being positioned as a rival to Netflix and Amazon but offers something those two streaming giants don’t, ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Friday, Lygo said BritBox would be a “different thing” that allowed [...]

  • Stefano Sollima for Web Story

    'ZeroZeroZero' Creator on Making an Old Story New and How Andrea Riseborough Got Hurt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Stefano Sollima, the Italian director known in Hollywood for “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and TV show “Gomorrah,” is the main creative force behind cocaine-trafficking series “ZeroZeroZero,” which will world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 5. Festival chief Alberto Barbera has praised it as blowing “Narcos” out of the water. Sollima directed [...]

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and executive producer Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via an emotional Instagram video. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]

  • ITV STUDIOS PRESENTS VERAFILM 2Pictured: BRENDA

    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content