'Narcos' Star Wagner Moura on Playing Drug Lord Pablo Escobar: "It Was the Craziest Thing I've Ever Done"
"I didn't speak Spanish. I wasn't thin. I wasn't the obvious choice to play this character," the Brazilian actor told THR of landing the part.
Brazilian actor Wagner Moura opened up about the level of commitment it took to portray notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar on Netflix's Narcos during The Hollywood Reporter's annual Drama Actor Emmy Roundtable.
"It was the craziest thing I've ever done. I didn't speak Spanish. I wasn't thin. I wasn't the obvious choice to play this character," he said of landing the role and learning a new language to get into character.
Moura revealed that filming required the cast and crew to move to Columbia to shoot on location, which proved difficult for his family life.
"In the first season, I didn't want my family to be there. I had to be there alone, so it was also really tough and difficult, as it was difficult for Pablo to be away from his family all the time," he shared. "Now I feel more comfortable, so I brought them there. My kids are there learning Spanish and going to school."
On Narcos' first-season wrap, Moura explained that it took a lot of guesswork for the show to come together. "We didn't really know exactly what we were doing in the first season actually, I think," he said. "Now, production-wise, script-wise and character-wise, we are all more prepared."
Moura explained the difficulty of filming a series based on a story with a known ending. "We all know what's going to happen to Pablo Escobar," he told THR. "I felt like when I finished the first season, I had to finish [the series]. … It's like accomplishing a mission."
More Roundtables featuring comedy actors and actresses, drama actresses, comedy and drama showrunners, and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV, with the premiere of the Drama Actor Roundtable on Sunday, July 4. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.