Don Winslow's crime novel The Cartel has benefitted from two very important boosts – firstly, the book itself is a layered and gripping story that blends fact and fiction about a compelling subject, and secondly, the subject himself, drug cartel boss Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzmán escaped from prison again recently. Now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that 20th Century Fox have bought the rights to the film with Ridley Scott (Prometheus) attached to direct the eventual film.
The plot of the novel follows Art Keller and Adan Barrera, two friends whose life paths diverged when the former started work with the DEA and the latter joining the Sonora drug cartel, and charts their linked experiences from 2004 to 2014. It is a follow-up to his 2006 tome The Power Of The Dog. And for this new book, Winslow researched El Chapo extensively for more than a decade, which makes it even more attractive to the filmmakers, and it won't surprise anyone to lean that the deal also includes rights to the first book along with The Cartel.
Winslow's book agent also just happens to be Shane Salerno (Savages), whose Story Factory company helped hammer out the deal. He is on board to write the script and produce, and according to Deadline, 20th Century Fox are also reaching out to Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street), who had been trying to secure the book for his Appian Way company, to play one of the lead roles.
Scott, who tackled the drug war previously in The Counselor (2013), is currently in post-production on science fiction thriller The Martian, due to land here on 2 October.