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UniMás Sets ‘El Chapo’ Narco-Novela for Fall

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán has certainly been getting lots of airtime on Univision’s networks these days.

So far, those appearances have been on the network’s newscasts, with in-depth coverage of the Mexican drug lord’s Jan. 8 capture by authorities after his third escape from prison.

Starting this fall, though, El Chapo’s story will become the grist for fiction, as Univision Communications-owned UniMás will air the new, “unauthorized” series Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán: El Varón de la Droga.

The drama is based on a novel by Andrés López López. Univision did not reveal a specific premiere date and time for Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán: El Varón de la Droga, nor did it disclose casting details.

In a statement, UniMás said the series “will bring audiences an extraordinarily authentic view of the inner workings and politics of the drug trafficking subculture.”

Univision Communications president of programming and content Alberto Ciurana said the story of “El Chapo” had been on his radar well before the drug lord’s capture earlier this month. The fact that Guzmán is in custody again — at least for now — gave UniMás the opportunity to start promoting the forthcoming series.

“The Chapo Guzmán story has been one of the most captivating stories of this past year, and we’re thrilled to bring an inside look into his world to our audiences,” Ciurana said. “Our team has been hard at work the past several months, developing a story that takes our audiences deep inside the dark and fascinating world of one of the most feared outlaws of all time.”

Guzmán’s desire to see his life made into a biographical film, ironically, is what led Mexican authorities to find him hiding in a Los Mochis home. As was widely reported, actor Sean Penn interviewed Guzmán last October for Rolling Stone magazine. It then emerged that the interview was arranged by one of Hispanic television’s biggest stars, Kate del Castillo.

Del Castillo has enjoyed a highly successful 25-year career as a protagonist in telenovelas such as Televisa’s 1991 Muchachitas, her breakthrough series; and Telemundo’s 2011 smash La Reina del Sur. The latter series is about a drug lord’s girlfriend who assumes control of his affairs after he is murdered.

Del Castillo has not yet spoken publicly about her involvement in Guzmán’s capture, but said Jan. 15 that she is ready to tell her side of the story. In an English Twitter post on Jan. 13, Del Castillo she thanked fans for her support and said: “Not surprisingly, many have chosen to make up items they think will make good stories and that aren’t truthful. I look forward to sharing my story with you.”

Even so, any validation of a friendship with the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel could greatly damage Del Castillo’s career. On Jan. 13, Mexico City-based newspaper Milenio published a series of text messages between Del Castillo and Guzmán, who had not yet been captured by Mexican authorities. The texts were “flirtatious” in nature, the newspaper noted.

Del Castillo was last seen on Spanish-language television as the lead in the Telemundo series Dueños del Paraíso, which concluded its run in April 2015. She also appeared in several episodes of The CW’s Jane the Virgin.