Back in April, Joe Carnahan told me that Javier Bardem was a "marked man," destined to take on the lead role in his next passion project about the life of Pablo Escobar. "He and I are constantly battling," Carnahan said, "but I'll get him if it's my last ... I'm gonna get him. He knows. He's a marked man, so we're gonna firm it up here soon." In fact, the word is that Carnahan wants to jump directly into KillingPablo after he finishes shooting White Jazz in early 2008. The sticking point has apparently always been Bardem, who was still haggling with Carnahan over details back in April and, I learned yesterday, is still haggling with him to this day. I had a chance to speak with Bardem at the press junket for Goya's Ghosts, and asked him straight up if he was down for playing Pablo or not. Here's what he had to say about that.
"We are still ... he sent me the script. It's something that is in the back of our heads. Pablo Escobar is an amazing character to play, because he's bigger than life. He's an amazing character, but Pablo Escobar is somebody that is not simple. He has to be written in a very complex way, because he's not only a villain. He did horrible things, but also he was considered a hero somehow in his country, because he brought villages and schools and light to some villages that were totally in misery. Like it or not, that's also Pablo Escobar, and that has to be pictured. That has to be seen, in order to understand why still there are some masses with thousands of people going there to pray for him. He's not only a bad guy. He was, but he's more complex than that. So I would love to work with Joe. I met him several times, and I would be more than pleased to do it. I guess he's also doing some other things, but that will happen." So there you have it.