Benicio del Toro to play Pablo Escobar

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Benicio del Toro, fresh from the rather terrible “Savages” (the box-office reflected it’s mediocrity), will star as Pablo Escobar in a new $25 million dollar flick called “Paradise Lost”.

Variety has the details on the project, which isn’t at all the biopic Del Toro’s agents likely hoped it might’ve been when he was initially approached (just guessing; as Day-Lewis will soon attest, big-time bio’s make Academy members smile).

Inspired by true events, pic turns on Nick, a young surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls madly in love with a beautiful local girl called Maria. Their romance seems idyllic until he meets her uncle, Escobar.

Italian thesp-turned-filmmaker Andrea di Stefano (“Life of Pi”) penned the script and is set to make his directorial debut with “Paradise.”

Del Toro is “one of the rare actors with enough charisma and range to play such a multi-faceted character as Escobar, who could be wonderfully charming yet dangerous and menacing,” Rassam said.

He noted that “Paradise” isn’t an Escobar biopic. It “will have a narrative structure in the vein of ‘The Last King of Scotland,’ weaving Nick and Maria’s romance with Nick’s ambivalent and destructive relationship with Escobar,” Rassam explained.

The 11-week shoot will kick off in March in Panama.

When we spoke to Del Toro last month, he wondered whether he might be part of the “Sin City” sequel. Still no word on that.