Pablo Escobar may have died over 20 years ago, but it seems the world isn’t tired of bringing the notorious drug lord’s story back to life.
Earlier this week Netflix announced, in a statement, plans to produce, “Narcos,” a new series about the infamous Colombian cartel boss that will be directed by Brazilian Jose Padilha (“Robocop,” “Elite Squad”), according to Spanish wire service EFE.
The digital content provider has ordered one season -- 10 episodes -- for the series, which will star Brazilian actor Wagner Moura ("Elysium") as Escobar. “Narcos” is set to debut in early 2015 and filming will begin soon in Colombia.
Padilha is most recently known for this year’s reboot of “Robocop” and his Brazilian crime films “Elite Squad” (2007) and “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” (2010) -- both of which starred Moura as Lt. Colonel Nascimento.
"Jose and Wagner together created one of the most sophisticated and chilling portraits of criminality and official corruption ever in their 'Elite Squad' movies," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in the statement, EFE reports. "Their version of the Escobar saga will be like nothing ever seen before."
Escobar terrorized Colombia as the head of the notorious Cartel de Medellín for more than two decades until he was killed by Colombian soldiers in December 1993. The criminal organization was funded by his successful production and distribution of cocaine, a business that fueled violence in the South American country and cost more than 4,000 individual their lives.
"Our idea is to tell the true story of how cocaine became such a huge problem in the U.S. and Europe - and how it all started here in Medellín," Padilha said.
“Narcos” isn’t the only upcoming project taking on Escobar’s story. Benicio del Toro will portray the drug kingpin in this year’s “Paradise Lost,” a film that centers around Escobar’s niece.
Last year, Colombian-American actor John Leguizamo was also cast as Escobar for the anticipated biopic “The King of Cocaine,” which has no release date as of yet. Leguizamo spent $15,000 of his own money to purchase a fat suit and prosthetic make-up to transform himself and secure the role.
Projects based on the life and crimes of Pablo Escobar have proved highly successful, especially in the drug lord’s native Colombia. In 2012, Caracol produced the historical series “Pablo Escobar: El Patrón Del Mal” despite initial controversy.
The telenovela was widely successful in Colombia and was also broadcast in the United States on Telemundo. At first, critics accused the network of capitalizing on one of the country’s darkest moments in history and being insensitive to many of Escobar’s victims who are still alive. Producers defended the series by saying it was important that the country remembered its past in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes.