Oliver Stone Slams Reports of His Involvement in El Chapo Film as "Unfounded" (Exclusive)

Oliver Stone
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The Oscar-winning director was responding to allegations in a British tabloid newspaper.

Oscar-winning writer-director Oliver Stone has dismissed as “unfounded” widely disseminated reports that he had sought to obtain the movie rights to the life story of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

In a statement issued Thursday to The Hollywood Reporter, Stone said: “As the Daily Mail would know had it contacted me, the story is unfounded.”

Stone, the maker of such films as Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and the upcoming Snowden, was referring to an article that appeared in the British tabloid on Wednesday, which claimed the real reason his former colleague Sean Penn went to Mexico on a clandestine mission to interview El Chapo last year was to secure the rights for a film that Stone would direct.

The Mail claimed, “The truth behind Sean Penn’s ‘bungle in the jungle’ [was that] director Oliver Stone orchestrated [the] rendezvous with El Chapo to make a Hollywood blockbuster starring the Oscar-winning actor as the drug lord."

That article in turn cited a Reelz documentary as the source of the allegations. The documentary, El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle in the Jungle, premiered tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Multiple sources on Wednesday told THR that Penn had no intention of pursuing movie rights, and indeed that he signed a waiver telling his colleagues he had no interest in them. The actor has repeatedly said that he is not making any such film and has no plans to.

The documentary revealed that two longtime Stone associates, producers Fernando Sulichin and Jose Ibanez, accompanied Penn on his trip to Mexico, along with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. It is unclear what their purpose was or if they succeeded in obtaining movie rights themselves. Sulichin declined to comment when reached Wednesday.

Now Stone has joined Penn, who starred in the director's 1997 U Turn, in denying the allegations.

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