Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox are teaming up for THE CARTEL, an adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel that centers on the Sonora drug cartel led by the infamous Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Scott is set to direct the project, with a script by Shane Salerno.
The novel, which was published in June, is extremely timely, as El Chapo’s extraordinary escape from a Mexican prison on July 18 has made front-page news across the globe. It centers on two friends whose paths diverged when one went to work for the DEA and the other joined the Sonora drug cartel.
Scott and Michael Schaefer will produce through Scott Free Films and Salerno will produce via his shingle Story Factory. Steve Asbell will oversee for Fox.
Scott has previous experience with the subject matter, as he directed 2013’s The Counselor with Michael Fassbender and Penelope Cruz, which centered on a lawyer who got in too deep with a cartel. His upcoming sci-fi thriller The Martian, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, will be released on October 2nd.
This will be the third time Salerno adapts Winslow’s work, as he scripted and executive produced Oliver Stone’s Savages, based on the Winslow novel of the same name, and is currently co-writing an adaptation of his novel Satori with him, with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star.
Fox has reportedly spent a bundle on the deal, shelling out nearly $1 million a piece for the book rights to The Cartel and The Power of the Dog, and upwards of $6 million dollars total for rights and screenwriting fees. Who says crime doesn’t pay?
Kristen McRobbie | Staff Writer
This news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.