A random tweet gains a Mexican actress infamy and a link to one of the world’s most notorious drug lords in a biographical drama premiering this week on Netflix.
In “The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story,” a three-part series that begins streaming Friday, Oct. 20, the actress best known for the Spanish-language telenovela “La Reina del Sur” and American productions such as “Jane the Virgin” stars as herself, who in 2012 tweeted about corruption within the Mexican government and a request to the then-head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, for help.
Two years later, she was contacted by Guzman’s attorneys about possibly producing a biographical film about him, which drew the attention of Mexican intelligence and got her put under surveillance. After he escaped from prison in 2015, she eventually met in secret with Guzman in the mountains of Mexico, an experience she calls scary but somewhat surprising.
“The guy was very open, the guy was smiling all the time, the guy was happy that we were there and he treated me quite nice,” del Castillo recalls. “I mean, that’s what I have to say regarding him as a guy who I met. It doesn’t mean he’s not who he is. So he treated us very nicely. … They were very, very open and he tried to hide any kind of guns or anything from me so I don’t get scared, I guess. So no, it was actually nice.”
But the clandestine meeting would change her life – and not in a good way. She found herself vilified by Mexican officials, media and fans for befriending the fugitive crime boss, investigated for money laundering and passed over for acting jobs. Though she was eventually cleared of all wrongdoing, her reputation was in ruins and her career took a nosedive.
Though she can return to Mexico, she won’t, saying it’s not safe for her there. These days, she’s living in Los Angeles and focused on rebuilding her acting career, which she hopes this project and her other Netflix series “Ingobernable” will help accomplish.
She found the experience of doing “The Day I Met El Chapo” cathartic – she even broke down on set numerous times – and hopes it will help her put this chapter of her life behind her.
“I needed to say my truth,” she says. “I needed to give some of the statements that I couldn’t say before because the investigation was open. So now that it’s closed, now I can speak openly about it.”