John Leguizamo has come a long way since The Pest, leading a successful and consistent but mostly under-the-radar career. Now it looks like he might have finally landed his defining role. Deadline has reported that Relativity Media has signed on to produce King of Cocaine, the long-in-the-works biopic of Colombian cartel king pin Pablo Escobar, and Leguizamo has been tapped as the leading man.
Though the Leguizamo has long considered portraying Escobar his dream role, it didn’t come easy for the Colombian-born actor. The film itself has been on the shelf for years, and when Relativity stepped in and it came time to cast the leading man, Leguizamo was repeatedly passed on by producer Scott Steindorff. That didn’t stop him, though. He paid $15,000 of his own money to buy a fat suit and prosthetic makeup so that he’d more closely resemble the drug kingpin before sending in an anonymous screen test to Relativity executives. They liked it enough to ask who it was, and Leguizamo landed the role.