“He’s wearing a casual patterned silk shirt, pressed black jeans, and he appears remarkably well-groomed and healthy for a man on the run. He opens Kate’s door and greets her like a daughter returning from college,” American actor Sean Penn wrote about Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s first meeting with Kate del Castillo.
Del Castillo, 43, a Mexican actress who splits her time between Los Angeles and Mexico City, earned the notorious Sinaloa kingpin’s trust to coordinate the now infamous meeting for Penn — all the while Guzmán was still on the run from authorities after breaking out of Mexico’s most-fortified prison.
Del Castillo, was contacted by the farmer-turned-billionaire-drug lord in 2012 after she tweeted about her mistrust in the Mexican government and her anger with the administrations’ shortcomings in combating the country’s poverty.
“Today I believe more in El Chapo Guzmán than in the governments that hide the painful truth from me,” del Castillo tweeted and then later deleted in 2012, according to Hoy, a Los Angeles Times’s Spanish-language newspaper.
Following her admissions on Twitter, Del Castillo was contacted by one of Guzmán’s lawyers who asked her for an address so that El Señor could send her flowers in a show of gratitude for her words.
She never received the flowers, but did maintain contact with Guzmán and his lawyers.
Two years later, Mexican marines frog-marched the Sinaloa cartel boss in front of the media in a show that Mexico was in fact, in control of combating the country’s’ deadly drug war.
Guzmán’s recapture in 2014, which came after a 13-year manhunt, was a huge win for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration — but was short-lived.
Nearly a year and a half later, on
July 11, Guzmán casually stood up from his bed, walked to the far corner of his maximum-security prison cell, and escaped through a sophisticated, custom-engineered tunnel system — a second jailbreak that confirmed for many either the scope of the Mexican authorities’ incompetence or the depth of their corruption.
Triggering another nationwide-manhunt, Guzmán managed to avoid capture for six months before authorities zeroed in on his hideout in Los Mochis, Mexico, on January 8.
According to Penn, Guzmán began plotting his Hollywood fame while incarcerated in Altiplano prison.
“He was interested in seeing the story of his life told on film, but would entrust its telling only to Kate (del Castillo),” Penn wrote.
“The same lawyer again tracked her down, this time through the Mexican equivalent of the Screen Actors Guild, and the imprisoned drug lord and the actress began to correspond in handwritten letters and BBM messages.”
Guzmán referred to her as “hermosa” meaning “beautiful,” The Wall Street Journal reports citing a Mexican security official.
“We think he had an obsessive interest with her,” the official added.
As the daughter of famed actor Eric del Castillo, she is considered television royalty in Mexico, with a career spanning more than 20 years and the connections to bring Guzmán’s movie to life.
The fact that art imitates life is worth noting, considering that in 2011 del Castillo starred as drug lordess Teresa Mendoza in popular soap opera “La Reina del Sur” meaning “The Queen of the South.”