Kate del Castillo’s plans to produce a biographical film about the life of drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán are still in the works, despite the possibility of legal troubles for the actress.
Del Castillo's U.S.-based attorney Harland Braun vehemently denied that his client received any money from the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel to produce the film, which would be illegal.
The actress, who was born in Mexico but received U.S. citizenship last year, is currently being sought by prosecutors in her native country. An order was issued last week by the country's attorney general's office for her to be located and brought in for questioning as part of a probe of possible money-laundering involving Guzmán and the actress’ tequila business.
Del Castillo, who is known for playing a female drug lord in "La Reina del Sur,” is officially considered a witness and has not been accused of any crime, according to Attorney General Arely Gomez
Braun told the Spanish newspaper El País that the only thing that del Castillo looked for in her trip to meet with Guzmán was to learn more about him and get further details for the film.
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Braun compared the project to crime films like “The Godfather” and “Once Upon a Time in America” and the recent “Black Mass,” which starred Johnny Depp as gang leader Whitey Bulger.
“In the U.S., we have made many movies about the Mafia,” he said, adding that the film would be done correctly, showing the good and the bad.
A clandestine meeting between Hollywood actor Sean Penn, del Castillo and Guzmán took place last October, when the kingpin was a fugitive from prison. Penn's Rolling Stone interview was published Jan. 9, a day after Guzmán was recaptured in a raid in the city of Los Mochis on Mexico's Pacific Coast.
"She didn't know Penn was going to write for Rolling Stone. Would you meet with El Chapo and approve to have the interview for publication?" Braun said in an interview with the Associated Press last week. "After the interview, she had no choice about it. Once Penn and Guzmán agreed on the article, what was she going to do? She signed off after they had done so."
"That's what made her feel really betrayed by these people," he said, referring to Penn and two people who accompanied him to the meeting. "The three of them go together and basically used her and didn't tell her."
In Penn's article, he was vague about whether he had told del Castillo about the magazine article prior to meeting with Guzmán.
While Mexican officials have not sought Penn for questioning, Braun assured that del Castillo is not hiding anything and is willing to collaborate – if she receives "proper information and credentials."
"We're not afraid of anything, because she didn't do anything to hurt anyone," he said. "She didn't do this to expose Mr. Guzmán."
But Braun suggested del Castillo, who currently lives in Los Angeles, would prefer to talk in the U.S., noting "there's a treaty in the U.S. that says that Mexico can come here and question people."
The Associated press contributed to this report.