Fuqua directs second Escobar film
Antoine Fuqua is the man set to go head to head with Joe Carnahan with his biographical film about Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug trafficker and gang leader.
Carnahan, who is making Killing Pablo and has been for a good few years, has publicly criticised this second film. However the news that Fuqua has joined could give it a little injection of life against the first on the scene Carnahan version.
Oliver Stone is set to be one of the producers of the film that is going against the first Escobar film from Mark Bowden's book about the hunt for the drug trafficker. That film, Killing Pablo, will be directed by Joe Carnahan and star both Javier Bardem and Christian Bale. So the competition is stiff.
Variety tells us that this second film will be called Escobar and is based on the book Mi Hermano Pablo written by Roberto Escobar Gaviria who was Pablo Escobar's accountant and confidant and whose company holds the rights of the Escobar family.
Right now David McKenna is working on the rewrite of the script, which sounds like the right thing to do after the open criticism it received. McKenna wrote Blow, S.W.A.T. and American History X, which are both very strong credits for someone's career.
This film actually sounds as though it has a fair chance against Carnahan's Killing Pablo, a film which has been on the go for some five years already. Fuqua's Escobar sounds like it has some top talent involved and promises to be an honest look into the man's life.
While the film came under some fire from Carnahan, one of the producers shot back in comments that Variety carried.
"Joe Carnahan's notion of us poaching his territory and rushing for a pre-strike start is false. We've been working with Robert and a half-dozen consultants for a year and a half to tell an accurate story"
He also pointed out Pablo's brother, who wrote the book, will serve as consultant on the film giving a first hand perspective to events, and the producers are playing heavy on this in the war of words against Carnahan's film. They even have Escobar Gaviria defending this version:
"My brother will be portrayed as a ruthless head of the Medellin cartel…This is just 10% of the story. The other 90% is the story others trying to portray him simply don't have."
Finally Antoine Fuqua talks about his choice to direct the film.
"Escobar was Robin Hood, a saint to some, and the devil to others…He came from the wrong side of the tracks with nothing, but when he died was worth $3 billion...He was one of the most successful criminals we've ever seen, and that's why I find him such a compelling subject for a movie."
Far from the poorer second cousin to Carnahan's film that Escobar sounded, it does seem as though it's going to be dramatic and factual, at least from the eyes of the Escobar family.
How Joe Carnahan will respond to this is yet to be seen, but the battle between the Escobar films is far from over.