The Mexican actress who helped connect Sean Penn with Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” while he was on the run has spoken out about the day they spent together.
Kate del Castillo, who had been in contact with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, said she thought she was meeting with the drug lord to try to secure the rights to his life story for a movie when she met with him in a hidden area of Mexico.
She detailed the October journey in an interview with The New Yorker, saying how she thought Penn was interested in working on the would-be movie with her, initially not knowing he’d planned to write about the meeting for Rolling Stone.
She told the New Yorker that she and Penn had been introduced by a producer friend who knew about her wanting to make a movie about Guzman’s life and who knew that she had been in touch with the drug lord. Penn met with her again at her home in Los Angeles in October just before their trip, and he participated in a tequila tasting she was hosting. She appears to have posted a photo of the pair at the event on her Instagram account.
As a gift for Guzman, del Castillo brought a novel she had written, a book of her favorite poems, one of her movies and one of Penn's movies, and a bottle of her tequila, but she and Penn ended up drinking half of it during the turbulent two-hour plane ride to the meeting, she told The New Yorker.
She said that group had tacos and tequila, and talked about Guzman's life on the run. Del Castillo says it was only then, mid-meal, that Penn asked her to translate his request to interview Guzman for Rolling Stone.
Penn previously released a statement saying there had been "total transparency" about his intentions to interview Guzman, but she has now told the New Yorker that claim is "total and complete b*******."
According to The New Yorker, two feature film producers who accompanied Del Castillo and Penn to Mexico both say that there was discussion of Penn’s Rolling Stone article prior to their meeting with El Chapo.
Their night with Guzman took a potentially dark turn, however, when, she told the magazine, he escorted her to a bedroom. She said that she feared he was going to assault her.
Instead, he just gestured toward one of the beds, saying he wouldn't be sleeping in the same area, she said.
"’This is where you’ll sleep,’" she recalled his telling her. "’You're not going to see me after this, because I don’t sleep where my guests are. It's for their security.’”
"Thanks for giving me one of the best days of my life," he said, according to del Castillo.