[Update: Deadline adds that Fox is already working to court Leonardo DiCaprio to star in the film as Keller, reuniting with his Body of Lies director. DiCaprio chased the project for his Appian Way production company before Fox won the rights to the book. Others courting Winslow included HBO, which hoped to turn The Cartel into a miniseries spearheaded by True Detective showrunner Nic Pizzolatto.]
Filmmaker Ridley Scott has been lining up projects and knocking ‘em down one-by-one pretty steadily in recent years, and it appears as though he may have found his next film. As he finishes up post-production on his sci-fi pic The Martian, the folks at THR report that Scott has signed on to direct and produce an adaptation of Savages author Don Winslow’s latest novel The Cartel, which takes place in the drug cartel world and offers a fictional account of real-life drug lord El Chapo. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because on July 18th, El Chapo got away with a daring and elaborate escape from a Mexican prison involving a crazy intricate tunnel.
Winslow’s novel tells of two friends, Art Keller and Adan Berrera, whose paths diverged when Keller went to work for the DEA and Berrera joined El Chapo’s Sonora drug cartel. The book roughly covers the years 2004-2014 and includes a fictionalized account of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s 2001 prison escape.
Winslow and Shane Salerno, who adapted Savages for Oliver Stone, will write the script and also produce the 20th Century Fox pic. But seeing as how they’re just now getting started, it’s unclear if this will definitely be Scott’s next film. He also has a Prometheus sequel percolating, but recent word has been that someone else will likely direct that picture. If Winslow and Salerno can put together a draft quickly, it’s possible Scott could be shooting this next year, moving back into the drug cartel world that he touched upon briefly with The Counselor.