I’d say it began with Jessie James.
It most certainly gathered steam during the Great Depression with the likes of John Dillinger, Al Capone and Bonnie & Clyde.
And, it most certainly carries through to the present (let us not forget John Gotti, the Teflon Don).
“It” is fame, and gangsters crave fame more than a $1 billion sale of crystal meth.
Joaquin Guzman Loera, AKA el Chapo, was no different. The thug positively salivated at the thought of seeing himself on a 3D Imax screen. Instead, he’ll be staring through the bars of a maximum security prison for the rest of his life (a third tunnel escape notwithstanding).
Sean Penn and Kate Del Castillo may have set the trap that enabled Mexican Federales to pinpoint the little ruffian’s latest hideout, but it was ego and the prospect of immortality that finally brought down Loera.
And, so, thanks to the journeys of Penn and Del Castillo (legal or not) the Feds were able to draw a fresh bead on North America’s most notorious bandito.
One might say that, like Spitzer, Weiner, Edwards and all the philandering American politicians of recent times, el Chapo wanted to be caught.
Loera wanted to see how far he could push the system since, like his American counterparts, he’d succeeded in pushing ever other boundary. So why not agree to take a meeting to discuss a potential Hollywood blockbuster, I’d title, “Meth, Death and me: the life and times of el Chapo.”
As for producing and writing the flick, forget about Del Castillo and Penn, I’d have turned it over to Quentin Tarantino or the Coen Brothers. No one has elevated bloodlust to higher (or lower) levels than those three.
As for casting el Chapo, Penn would have been my first choice. The guy always looks like he’s spoiling for a fight.
Alas, we must abandon the “what ifs” for now and content ourselves with “Narcos” and the Pablo Escobar story on Netflix. Escobar is good, but he’s no el Chapo.
“El Chapo, baby. We’ll need you back on the set in 15 minutes, ok sweetheart?”