The world’s most famous drug lord mogul is finally achieving his dream.
The History Channel is in the progress of developing a biopic show surrounding the life of Joaquin Guzman, better known to the world as the Mexican drug lord “El Chapo,” Variety reports. The made-for-TV series, called Cartel, is unlike anything currently in History’s line-up, which is notably mostly consisting of alien-themed shows and World-War-II-themed shows.
Cartel will examine the intracacies of a drug kingdom on a macro, worldwide scale but will ground it through telling the story of El Chapo. The narrative will root itself in the early days of El Chapo, when he truly was Guzman, and onward to his tremendous rise to the warlord he has become now.
It is likely, given the dramatic flair of El Chapo’s recent behavior and this being a drama show, that some hair-raising events for viewers to look forward to will be the drug lord’s many run-ins with the law, his arrests, and his daring, less-than-sympathetic escapes from Mexican prison.
Throughout the series, however, creators of Cartel will likely aim a spotlight on El Chapo’s highly unusual methods of rising to and maintaining his global power scope. Instead of relying on old fashioned, out-of-date practices, it is widely known that El Chapo uses social media to gather followers, new and existing, as well as using it to spread information–as if he were just announcing a pool party rather than coordinating a drug empire. In addition to his love of modern communication, El Chapo has also stretched his authority into the music industry—especially, of course, US/Hollywood markets—further bolstering his powerful and unique authority.
To bring this project to life comes none other than Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato, which excites History as much as it does Brancato.
“The true story of El Chapo, fraught with murder, drugs, and corruption, and celebrity has been and continues to be one of the most disturbing and fascinating part of the past decade,” says Jana Bennett, History Channel’s president and general manager. “Chris [Brancato] is the perfect person to bring this slice of modern history to the screen.”
Bennett is not wrong about El Chapo’s story continuing on either. Just in the last year alone, El Chapo’s name has made headlines on more than one occasion, starting with his creative escape from prison. The drug lord, in a not at all stereotypical move, dug a tunnel out of his cell using his vast network of followers to make it happen. The drug lord also gave an interview for a controversial Rolling Stone article written by Sean Penn around the same time, which not only led to El Chapo’s recapture but also upon Penn. Since then, El Chapo has not managed to flee again but his empire plows onward regardless.
“The show is a metaphor for the lives we present on the internet,” says Brancato, “the secret selves we reveal in supposedly private communication, and the risks of not-so-humble bragging on social media.”
Some of that bragging is reserved to El Chapo himself, who’s actual arrest was directly tied to his desire to have someone write a biopic about his life. So while the drug kingpin sits in a jail cell south of the border, it seems that El Chapo is getting his wish.
History has ordered Cartel for one episode, and if the pilot passes, it will expand into a fully-fledged series.