Benicio del Toro is finishing up his negotiations to play an elusive Colombian cocaine trafficker and a rich criminal Pablo Escobar in Paradise Lost, a Panama-set thriller romance with the project featuring a script by Andrea di Stefano, who will be making his directorial debut.
Inspired by true events, the story follows a young surfer, Nick, who visits his brother in Colombia and falls madly in love with a beautiful local girl called Maria. Their romance seems idyllic until he meets her uncle, the infamous drug lord Escobar.
Upside Down producer Dimitri Rassam who will produce the new film said:
Having Benicio Del Toro on board to play Pablo Escobar was an incredible motivation. He’s one of the rare actors with enough charisma and range to play such a multi-faceted character as Escobar, who could be wonderfully charming yet dangerous and menacing.
He further explained that Paradise Lost isn’t an Escobar biopic.
‘It will have a narrative structure in the vein of The Last King of Scotland, weaving Nick and Maria’s romance with Nick’s ambivalent and destructive relationship with Escobar.’
Despite sharing the same title, a Panama-set thriller romance and Alex Proyas’ still stuck in pre-production adaptation of John Milton’s 17th century poem have no connection with each other.
Production is slated to begin in March in Panama.
Italian actor-turned-filmmaker Di Stefano has had a successful career in acting, most recently completing a role in Life of Pi, while del Toro recently starred in Oliver Stone’s Savages and is set to topline the upcoming AKA Jimmy Picard, directed by Arnaud Desplechin.