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Benicio del Toro personifies ruthless drug lord in upcoming 'Escobar: Paradise Lost'

Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon talk about strong women in films, 'Hot Pursuit.'

 

In "Escobar: Paradise Lost," Benicio del Toro portrays Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s life as a family and community man in the late 80s and early 90s, at the height of his cold-blooded empire.

“[Escobar] did a lot of evil, you know, and along the way corrupted a whole system,” Del Toro told Fox News Latino. “He brought the government of Colombia to its knees for his own benefit,” he added.

Del Toro, 48, seems to be an expert on playing dark, intimidating characters who are chock-full of machismo. He earned an Academy Award for his role in "Traffic," where he played a Mexican border cop caught in the crossfires of illegal drug trafficking.

When asked why he gravitates toward these types of roles, he said, "Why I do them? I don't know, maybe it's the shape of my eyes, maybe I can bring something to them,” he said with a smile.

"As an actor you got to work, you take these roles you do the best you can with them,” he added.

There have been many films made about Escobar, who became the most powerful and wealthy kingpin in Colombia and grew his drug trafficking business into a global empire until his death in 1993.

In this new version, out in U.S. theaters on June 26, we get to see the story play out through the eyes of Nick, a young surfer played by Josh Hutcherson from "Hunger Games" fame, who lands on the beautiful Colombian beaches to set up a surf school.

Hutcherson said he enjoyed working with an almost all-Latino cast and crew in Panama, where the movie was filmed.

"I definitely felt like I was really welcomed and very warm and I think that's something that the Latin culture is kind of accustomed to,” he said.

Hutcherson’s character falls in love with Escobar’s niece, Maria (Claudia Triassic) and he tries to impress the so-called “Rey de la Coca” (“King of Coke”) -- a tall order for a young, naive Nick.

Del Toro said this new Escobar movie allows you to see another side of the ruthless drug lord: as a family’s protector and paternal figure.

“He was a family man, a churchgoing man, or a faith man,” said Del Toro.

“He helped a lot of people in need like bringing soccer fields and things that a lot of Latin Americans do know; he brought in clinics and built neighborhoods but at the same time he was involved in a very bad business,” the Puerto Rican noted.

By most accounts, Escobar was a complex character. He could be charismatic and charming but at the drop of a dime turned into a feared psychopath.

“He became almost like a character out of a fictionalized comic book," said Del Toro, adding, "Truth (here) is even stranger than fiction.”

Next up we will see Del Toro in the movie "Sicario" alongside other heavy-hitters, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. Blunt plays an FBI agent recruited by Josh Brolin to aid in the escalating war against the Mexican drug cartels.

It’s been non-stop dramas and thrillers for Del Toro, but when asked if he’s open to explore a comedic role in the future, he joked alongside his co-star Hutcherson, "Yeah Josh, come on, call your people and let's do the musical.”

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In the new biopic about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro portrays the drug lord's somewhat dual life as a family and community man eventually clashing with his ruthless empire.

“He [Escobar] did a lot of evil you know, along the way corrupted a whole system, he brought the government of Colombia to its knees for his own benefit,” Del Toro told Fox News Latino about the so-called “King of Cocaine,” whose vast drug empire unofficially ruled Colombia in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

The 48-year-old actor plays the ruthless drug kingpin in "Escobar: Paraside Lost," out in theaters June 26.

Del Toro seems to be an expert on playing dark - intimidating characters who are chock-full of machismo. He earned an Academy Award for his role in "Traffic," where he played a Mexican border cop caught in the crossfires of the world of illegal drug trafficking.

When asked why he gravitates toward these types of roles, he said, "why I do them?  I don't know, maybe it's the shape of my eyes maybe I can bring something to them,” adding "as an actor you got to work, you take these roles you do the best you can with them.”

There have been many films made about Escobar, who was the most powerful and wealthy drug kingpin in Colombia and grew his drug trafficking business into a global empire until his death in 1993. But in this version, we get to see the story play out through the eyes of Nick, a young Canadian surfer played by Josh Hutcherson from "Hunger Games" fame, who lands on the beautiful Colombian beaches to set up a surf school.

"I definitely felt like I was really welcome and very warm and I think that's something that the Latin culture is kind of accustomed too” said Hutcherson about working with an almost all-Latino cast and crew in Panama where the movie was filmed.

Hucherson’s character falls in love with Maria, (Claudia Triassic) who happens to be Escobar’s niece, and he tries to impress his girlfriend's very powerful uncle, a tall order for a young, naive Nick.

As the family’s protector and paternal figure, Del Toro said you get to see another side of Escobar in the film.

“He was a family man, a churchgoing man, or a faith man,  he helped a lot of people in need like bringing soccer fields and things that a lot of Latin Americans do know,  he brought in clinics and built neighborhoods but at the same time he was involved in a very bad business,” said Del Toro.

Escobar is a complex character, he’s charismatic and charming, but at the drop of a dime can turn into a feared psychopath with no apparent conscious.

“He became almost like a character out of a fictionalized comic book," said Del Toro, adding,  "truth is even stranger than fiction.”

Next up we will see Del Toro in "Sicario," alongside other heavy hitters, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. Blunt plays an FBI agent recruited by Josh Brolin to aid in the escalating war against the Mexican drug cartels.

Its been non-stop dramas and thrillers for Del Toro, but when asked if he’s open to explore a comedic role in the future, the actor joked alongside his co-star, "Yeah Josh [Hutcherson] come on, call your people let's go let's do the musical.”

Naibe Reynoso is a freelance reporter from Los Angeles, California. Follow her @naibereynoso

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