By Alicia Powell
NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Mexican actress Kate del Castillo helped orchestrate a secret meeting between actor Sean Penn and drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in what became an explosive Rolling Stone article, little did she know she’d be drawing from the experience for her new Netflix series.
In “Ingobernable,” which debuted on Netflix last month, del Castillo, 44, plays a fictional first lady of Mexico on the run after she is framed for her husband’s murder.
“This is a woman who’s tried to prove her innocence. This is a woman who’s been persecuted by the government. This is a woman who’s been criticized or under scrutiny for something that she didn’t do wrong. She’s not a criminal, you know?” del Castillo told Reuters on Friday.
“I was treated like one in Mexico, in my country. All those things, she risked her life, she’s in danger, all of those things, I live them in mine.”
Del Castillo brokered an interview between Guzman, the boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel, and Penn in 2015, after the drug lord became interested in making a movie of his life. The interview was published in Rolling Stone in early 2016 and helped lead to the drug lord’s arrest.
Penn and del Castillo were not investigated directly by Mexican authorities, but the actress did say in a statement to Univision at the time that she believed the Mexican government “wants to destroy me.”
“I can tell you that I have no regrets at all,” del Castillo said, adding that she didn’t “see there is anything wrong” in trying to secure the rights to Guzman’s life story.
“It was risky of course, but at the end I’m an actress, a Latina woman living in another country, struggling still. And I’m going to go and reach out to the good stories when they’re there,” she added.
Yet, del Castillo said she did feel guilty for her family in Mexico having to deal with the news of her involvement with Guzman.
Details of flirtatious phone messaging chats between Guzman and del Castillo gripped Mexico, and an official said the drug lord’s “obsession” with her led him to lower his guard and be caught.
“It’s not been a good year, it was very stressful to say it in one word. But I’m getting better, pulling myself together,” del Castillo said.
(Reporting by Alicia Powell for Reuters TV; Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Michael Perry)