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Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo played a Mexican drug trafficker in the hit telenovela La Reina del Sur (Queen of the South). Now, in real life, she finds herself closer to that criminal underworld than most fans of the show probably ever had imagined.
The film and television actress is under investigation for obstruction of justice after it was revealed that she brokered the now-famous interview between Sean Penn and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a meeting that ultimately led to the capture of Mexico’s most notorious narco on Friday.
How did Del Castillo get to know Guzman?
In 2012, after Queen of the South had aired on Telemundo, she wrote a controversial open letter reading, in part, “Today I believe more in Chapo Guzman than in governments that hide painful truths, those that hide cures for cancer and AIDS for their own benefit and enrichment.”
The letter went on to address Guzman, asking, “Mr. Chapo, wouldn’t it be cool if you started trafficking in goodness? Let’s traffic with love,” she said.
Some Mexicans found her comments inappropriate, given that Mexico’s ongoing drug war has claimed tens of thousands of lives, but Del Castillo insisted she was speaking out with a sense of irony.
In 2014, according to the Mexican newspaper El Universal, Guzman’s lawyers reached out to Del Castillo to ask if she would be interested in producing an autobiographical film about his life. At the time, Guzman was being held in a maximum-security prison, but he would later make a dramatic escape.
Del Castillo reportedly contacted an Argentine director to write the screenplay.
El Universal claims Del Castillo had become a type of public relations intermediary for El Chapo to the extent that Guzman’s lawyers reached out to Del Castillo to ask her help in halting the release of El Chapo: The Escape of the Century, which is set to hit Mexican theaters on Jan. 15. The low-budget movie, directed by Axel Uriegas, chronicles events leading up to El Chapo’s escape from prison in July.
Del Castillo, 43, divides her time between Los Angeles and Mexico City. Her latest credits include the animated Edward James Olmos film El Americano; the survival tale The 33, the true-life story about the group of Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010; and several episodes of Jane the Virgin.
She also has appeared on episodes of American Family and Weeds.
For Del Castillo’s next gig, assuming the project moves forward, she’s starring in the Netflix political drama Ingobernable, a 20-episode series in which she plays the wife of a Mexican president.
Del Castillo’s publicist declined to comment.
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