“I said, ‘Tell Mr. Chapo, first of all, good job on your escape’.... I will not be making a film".
Filmmaker Peter Berg has abandoned plans to make a movie about drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman for fear his Los Angeles boxing gym could be targeted by Latino thugs.
The crime boss was recaptured in January, 2016, after spending months on the run in the jungles of Mexico following an escape from prison.
During his bid for freedom, El Chapo met with actor Sean Penn and agreed to be the subject of a Rolling Stone magazine interview, while making it clear he was interested in a movie about his life.
And now Deepwater Horizon director Berg has revealed he almost took on the project.
“I got out of the El Chapo business,” the filmmaker, who owns the Wild Card West boxing gym, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We have a lot of Hispanic fighters from Mexico. Two days after his (El Chapo’s) escape, two of my fighters came in and asked if they could talk to me, and then told me that El Chapo wanted to meet with me.
“That’s when I realized, ‘Hollywood thinks it’s a cool idea to make a movie’. (But) this is a very dangerous group of individuals. And this is my gym, where I work out and train, and my child comes in.
“I said, ‘Tell Mr. Chapo, first of all, good job on your escape’. I will not be making a film. I wish him all the best.”