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Relativity Nabs Pablo Escobar Script 'Silver or Lead'

Enrique Urbizu Headshot - P 2013
Getty Images
Director Enrique Urbizu

Enrique Urbizu will direct the pic centering on the personal war between the Colombian drug lord and Gen. Hugo Martinez.

Relativity Media has acquired the script rights to Silver or Lead, a story about the manhunt for infamous Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.

The film will be directed by Enrique Urbizu from a screenplay by Piers Ashworth (Nostradamus, St. Trinian’s), which he developed from an original draft by Michael Kane. Urbizu’s previous film, No Rest for the Wicked (2011), won 14 trophies at Spain's Goya Awards last year.

“Piers Ashworth has penned an extraordinary script that captures all the thrilling aspects of Pablo Escobar's life while championing a classic tale of the battle between two larger-than-life men who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals,” Urbizu said in a statement.

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The pic focuses on the personal war between Escobar and Gen. Hugo Martinez. The title is based on Escobar’s famous phrase, “Plata o plomo?” ("silver or lead"). The notorious outlaw would give people a choice: Take his bribe or forever wear a target on your back.

Martinez faces this difficult choice when he denies Escobar’s $6 million “request” for the Colombian general to call off his relentless pursuit.

The story comes from source material from Simon Strong's book Whitewash: Pablo Escobar and the Cocaine Wars, also acquired by Relativity.

Mark Canton, Donald Kushner and Leigh Ann Burton will produce the film alongside Relativity's CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and president Tucker Tooley. Atmosphere’s David Hopwood is co-producing.

Silver or Lead isn’t the only Escobar film in the works. Josh Hutcherson and Benicio Del Toro are starring in Paradise Lost, the directing debut of Life of Pi’s Andrea di Stefano. It follows a young Irishman (Hutcherson) who travels to Colombia and meets a young woman – whose uncle is Escobar (Del Toro).