You’d think that after The Counselor was such a huge success that Ridley Scott would rethink directing a film about the drug trade. But he’s not going to let that bother him, as he is set to direct something more factual. Reports are saying that the Prometheus director will now helm The Cartel, the big-screen adaptation of Don Winslow’s much-heralded account of DEA agent Art Keller, who was the one who arrested real-life Cartel boss JoaquÃn “El Chapo” GuzmÃ¡n. GuzmÃ¡n recently made headlines after escaping a Mexican prison through an underground tunnel.
There is also word that Leonardo DiCaprio may star as DEA agent Art Keller, the man who helped bring El Chapo to justice. More on the story below.
According to THR, there was a long negotiation process Wednesday night, with major studios expressing interest in the project not just because of the recent news surrounding El Chapo, but because of Winslow’s award-winning writing. Since Fox beat out the other major studios, the deal also includes the rights to Winslow’s other novel, The Power of the Dog, which is Cartel‘s precursor.
The Cartel covers a little over a decade of the infamous drug cartel and centers on the friendship between Art Keller and Adan Berrera, whose bond broke when Keller became a DEA agent and Berrera became an enforcer for El Chapo. Winslow did extensive research on El Chapo, even adding a fictionalized version of Guzman’s first prison escape in 2001.
Deadline is reporting that Fox is expressing interest in having Leonardo DiCapario star as Keller. The actor is currently shooting Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu’s The Revenant, which is reportedly behind schedule and overbudget.
Scott has had a long history with working with Fox, having shot films from Alien to the aformentioned The Counselor, Prometheus, and most recently Exodus: Gods and Kings, for the studio. He recently finished work on The Martian, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, and is rumored to be making Prometheus 2 at some point in time after.
Shane Salerno (Savages, Avatar 4) will pen the script. But with the project having just been announced, it’s not clear when production on the adaptation could get started. Again, the director has a slate of rumored projects, so it could be a while before he gets behind the lens for The Cartel.