After the bizarre episode delivered over the weekend, many are wondering what’s next – if anything – in the career of Mexican soap opera actress Kate del Castillo.
Del Castillo, credited by actor Sean Penn with setting up a secret meeting with ruthless drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is one of a bunch Mexican actresses who have achieved some success in a “crossover” career in the United States.
She carries a dual citizenship and has a production company, Kate del Castillo Productions, up and running in California,
The daughter of famed actor Eric del Castillo, the 43-year-old has been acting steadily for the small screen since her breakout role in a 1991 Mexican telenovela. She achieved major success as a sexy drug kingpin in “The Queen of the South,” in 2011, and not long afterward she set her eyes on the American market.
Del Castillo first appeared in the 2002 PBS series “American Family,” about a Latino family in Los Angeles and recently she played a role on The CW’s breakout 2014 comedy “Jane the Virgin.”
At this point it is all but unclear how Del Castillo’s alleged friendship with Guzman will affect her future projects, both in Mexico and the U.S. But her next American project, Netflix’s Spanish-language series “Ingobernable,” seems to be secure. Set to start taping later in the year, del Castillo was touted to play one of the main roles as the wife of the president of Mexico.
According to Variety, the online streaming company confirmed that the show is still on schedule to shoot later this year with a 20-episode order.
IMDB.com reports that the only other project Del Castillo is slated to star in is the animated feature film “El Americano: The Movie,” which is expected to be released later this year.
Fox News Latino reached out to Netflix and has not heard back. Del Castillo’s U.S. representatives CAA declined to comment, referring all media requests to her publicist, who has not commented.
Her attorney, from the Felker Toczek law firm, did not return calls for comment either.
Del Castillo herself has remained radio silent on social media since news broke over the weekend.
Del Castillo has long been fascinated with El Chapo, to whom she wrote a public appeal in 2012, urging him to do good and saying, "Today I believe more in Chapo Guzman than in the governments that hide the truth from me." Del Castillo later told The Associated Press that "nobody understood the irony, the sarcasm and the joke I was making" in the letter that was posted to her Twitter account.
But many saw it as fitting in with her on- and off-screen persona.
"The Queen of the South set up an interview with El Chapo. I wouldn't expect any less of her," Spanish writer Arturo Perez-Reverte, author of the book “The Queen of the South” was based on, wrote in a blog.
It is unclear whether U.S. and Mexican authorities were investigating Del Castillo, who keeps a home in Los Angeles.
It is also unclear if Del Castillo’s production company could face sanctions for violating the restrictions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
OFAC prohibits U.S.-based companies from dealing with people or entities included under the “Significant Narcotics Traffickers” list. Guzman has been identified on the list since 2001.
FNL reached out to the Department of the Treasury, which said it does not comment on sanctions enforcement or claims about potential sanctions violations of OFAC regulations.
Penn described elaborate security measures — disposable phones and encrypted communications — that both he and Del Castillo took to keep the meeting secret.
But apparently, Del Castillo's contacts with El Chapo's lawyers weren't as closely guarded — and were detected.
The Mexican newspaper El Universal published 10 photographs Monday that appeared to show Penn being monitored as he arrived in Mexico.
The photographs appear to show Penn and del Castillo arriving at an airport, then at a hotel, and greeting the men who apparently took them to a small airstrip, from which they flew to the jungle camp to meet Guzman.
The newspaper said the photos are part of a Mexican government intelligence file. It is not clear which may have been frame grabs from surveillance videos,
The account says agents were aware of and following del Castillo's contacts with Guzman's lawyers since at least June.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.