Mexican actress Kate del Castillo plans to forge ahead with the biopic film portraying the life of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, despite the fact she still faces a criminal investigation.
Prosecutors in Mexico issued an order last week for the actress to be brought in for questioning as part of a money-laundering investigation stemming from her involvement with Guzmán and the possibility he invested dirty money in her tequila company or to fund the film.
Attorney General Arely Gomez maintains that Del Castillo currently is considered a witness and is not accused of any crime.
Harland Braun, who is Del Castillo’s U.S-based attorney, refuted allegations that his client received any illicit funds for her company or for the production of the film, which would be considered a crime.
Speaking to the Spanish newspaper El País, Braun said del Castillo only sought a meeting with Guzmán to gather information about the drug kingpin for the film.
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, like “The Godfather” and “Once Upon a Time in America” and the recent “Black Mass,” Johnny Depp’s film about gang leader Whitey Bulger, which when it’s done correctly shows both the good and the bad,” Braun said.
Del Castillo helped arrange a secret meeting in October between fellow actor Sean Penn, and Guzmán, for an exclusive Rolling Stone interview while the cartel boss was still on the lam following his July prison escape.
Penn’s interview was published Jan. 9, a day after Guzmán was recaptured by Mexican Marines in the small city of Los Mochis in the drug lord’s home state of Sinaloa.
“Kate was unaware Penn was writing for Rolling Stone. Would you meet with El Chapo and approve of having the interview for publication?” Braun said to the Associated Press last week.
“After the interview, she had no choice about it. Once Penn and Guzmán agreed to the article, what was she going to do? She signed off after they had done so.”
“She felt betrayed by these people,” he said, referring to Penn and two individuals who accompanied him to the meeting. “The three of them go together and used her and didn’t tell her.”
In the Rolling Stone piece Penn remained ambiguous on whether he made del Castillo aware about the article before he met El Chapo.
Mexican officials have not asked to question Penn and Braun insisted that del Castillo is willing to cooperate and is not in hiding – as long as she receives the “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.”
However, Braun did suggest that del Castillo, who currently lives in Los Angeles and gained her U.S. citizenship last year, would rather conduct any line of questioning in the U.S., noting “there’s a treaty in the U.S. that says that Mexico can come here and interview people.”