To remain true to the narrative of Pablo Escobar, the team at Narcos knew they would eventually have to bid farewell to lead Wagner Moura when the infamous drug lord’s death was portrayed on screen.
Eric Newman, one of the show’s two executive producers, said, “We called the story Narcos for a reason, not ‘Pablo Escobar.’” He, producer José Padilha, and star Wagner Moura, chatted with IndieWire at the TCA summer press tour to discuss the future of Narcos post-Pablo.
Given that the first season covered Escobar’s entry into the drug trade and an extensive 15 years of his life, it was expected that his death would be given screen-time in Season 2.
“It’s a cool thing about the media of cinema…you play with time. You can make time go real fast, you can make time go real slow and the audience doesn’t even notice it,” Padilha said. “You can watch the first season and never think that it’s 15 years. Watch the second season and never think it’s so short because you’re in it. You’re in the time frame that the show poses for you.”
Narcos’ executive producers committed themselves to portraying the Escobar and narcotics narrative as authentically as possible. “We’re not telling the Pablo Escobar story. We’re telling the story of the narcotics trade and the war on drugs which is a bigger story, more important story. That would be somewhat of a documentary kind of dimension of this,” Padilha said.
The Escobar story is an interesting tale to tell, but he is “a small chapter in the many, many, many, many different players and situations in the last 30 years that have defined the cocaine business,” as Newman said. Narcos does not need to worry about having a lack of stories.
According to Padilha, “The story is America is a gigantic consumer of drugs, so there is a drug mob. There is the man for drugs. Period. Not only America- Brazil, Europe and so on, but chiefly America money-wise. That’s the biggest market. America makes the biggest call in what is the anti-drug policy. This has been, ‘Let’s kill the suppliers.’ It has not been ‘Let’s do social work and education.’”
“We certainly look at parallels in the world with terrorism, where we never deal with the source of terrorism,” Newman added. “We deal with “let’s cut the head off this monster” — in the most recent case, Osama bin Laden. By the time he’s gone, he’s already out of the game and there are new guys who are even worse. That’s really what the show is about.”
Narcos Season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.