'Narcos' Star Approached "All the Time" With Stories About Pablo Escobar

Courtesy of Netflix

"Everybody here knows someone who was killed by Pablo's bombs or by Pablo's [hit men]," Wagner Moura, who celebrated his Golden Globe nom alone in Bogota, tells THR.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Production nearly had wrapped on the second season of Netflix's Narcos — with most of the actors and producers already departed from the Bogota, Colombia, set — the day Golden Globes nominations were announced. That left Brazilian star Wagner Moura alone to celebrate the series' rec­ognition and his own for playing drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. He spoke to THR about the show's unique global footprint and how it's evolving for season two.

Why do you think this particular show was so well received by the HFPA?

Narcos has this mix of documentary and fiction, and it's a real story. It's a bilingual show, it's both in Spanish and in English, and we have an international cast — actors from Colombia, Mexico, the U.S., England, Chile, Brazil. The director, Jose Padilha, brought his unique style to the show. All the things that people are seeing in the show, the fact that these things really happened, make it interesting. And the fact that they mix the footage that we do with real footage, it brings a very unique kind of storytelling.

How has it been for you around Bogota, having people associate you with Pablo Escobar?

Honestly, I was most interested in the reception of the show by the Colombian people. I wanted the show to be as respectful as possible with their history. No one wanted — especially the Latin American people involved in the show — we didn't want the show to be a regular cop show where two American good cops go to a Third World country to save the poor people from a bad guy. We wanted this to be as realistic as possible. Of course, the Americans were really deeply involved in what happened here, but we wanted the heroes of the story to be the Colombians, the local authorities, President Gaviria, people that Pablo managed to kill or the people that survived him. So I really wanted to know, and Colombians received the show really, really well.

Do people approach you with stories about Pablo?

Oh, all the time, all the time, because it's a very recent story. The story that we're telling happened like 25 years ago, so everybody here knows someone who was killed by Pablo's bombs or by Pablo's sicarios [hit men]. Or people know someone who knew Pablo personally, or people really knew Pablo personally, or at least they say they knew him.

How would you describe the way the landscape of the show is changing for season two?

Pablo kind of changed with the death of Gustavo and the two last episodes in La Catedral, inside the prison. We could see, you could notice that he was kind of different already, inside himself, but also externally. His hair was different, his mustache was different, we could see that he aged a little, but that wasn't the most important thing. The most important thing is that after Gustavo's death, we could see that something changed inside that character — I think that the character we are going to see in the second season is similar to the character that we have seen in the last two episodes of the first.