In a bizarre twist to a story that has gripped the world, Rolling Stone published a lengthy interview between recently captured Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Hollywood actor Sean Penn on Saturday night. It was Chapo’s first interview in decades.
The nearly 11,000-word piece—the vast majority of which is taken up with Penn’s thoughts about his assignment—landed just a day after the drug lord was arrested by Mexican authorities. It was conducted in October, two months after Chapo’s stunning escape from the maximum security prison in which he was being held. In it, Chapo openly boasts about the scale of his empire, saying, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”
After the interview was published, Mexican authorities claimed that they had always known it had taken place. A Mexican official told the Associated Press that Penn’s interview with the the drug lord helped lead authorities to his whereabouts.
The report, titled “El Chapo Speaks,” also includes a 2-minute video preview of the interview where the Sinaloa kingpin talks about his start in the drug business.
“Well, it’s a reality that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up there was no other way and there still isn’t a way to survive,” Chapo tells the camera.
You can read Sean Penn’s full report here.
Penn claims he was able to contact Chapo via Kate Del Castillo, a Mexican actress best known for playing a drug kingpin in a popular soap opera titled La Reina del Sur.
In the article, Penn claims that Chapo’s lawyer reached out to Del Castillo to talk about shooting a movie on the drug lord’s life. The idea allegedly did not take off since Chapo was in prison at the time and access to him was too restricted. However, when he escaped in July, Penn contacted Del Castillo with the idea of doing a magazine story on Chapo. Del Castillo allegedly brokered a meeting.
Penn writes that he traveled with Del Castillo to an undisclosed location in Mexico where he was greeted by the drug lord’s son, Alfredo Guzmán, who escorted them to his father.
On Friday night, Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez said authorities had picked up El Chapo’s trail when his lawyers started meeting with actors and producers to shoot a movie on his life. In the article, Penn confirms that Chapo was indeed thinking about making a film about himself.
Watch Fusion’s documentaries on El Chapo: “Chasing El Chapo” and “Chapo, CEO of Crime.” Full disclosure: Penn mentions one of the documentaries to El Chapo himself during the Rolling Stone interview.
Check out more Fusion coverage on Chapo’s recapture: