Ridley Scott is to direct an adaptation of Don Winslow’s Mexican drug-war thiller The Cartel, after the rights to the novel were acquired by 20th Century Fox after a fierce bidding contest, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Cartel, which was published shortly before the infamous jailbreak of real-life cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, became the subject of considerable Hollywood interest after Guzmán’s escape made global news. It is set during the narco-terror of the period 2004-10, and follows a DEA agent and a cartel operative as they try to take each other down.
According to a report in Deadline, Fox stumped up around $6m for rights to The Cartel as well as an earlier Winslow novel, The Power of the Dog, which features the same characters, and writers’ fees. Scott’s commitment to directing the film was apparently instrumental in securing the deal, in the face of rival bids from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company. However, DiCaprio’s interest in the project means that he is being actively courted to play the DEA agent.
Scott is currently completing the space-survival thriller The Martian, starring Matt Damon, and could take this on once that is completed. DiCaprio, likewise, has finished shooting the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed western The Revenant.
This article was written by Andrew Pulver, for theguardian.com on Friday 24th July 2015 17.44 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010