Actor to play elusive drug lord.

It has been announced that Benicio Del Toro (‘Savages,’ ‘The Usual Suspects’) is in final negotiations to portray notorious Colombian cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar in Panama-set romance thriller ‘Paradise Lost.’

The €20 million budgeted film is inspired by true events and follows Nick, a young Irish surfer who thinks he has found his paradise by joining his brother in Colombia. There he meets and falls madly in love with a beautiful local girl called Maria. Everything seems perfect … until Maria introduces him to her uncle, Pablo Escobar.

Italian actor-turned-filmmaker Andrea di Stefano (‘Life of Pi’) scripted the film and is attached to make his directorial debut. Production is set for March in Panama and Ireland with Dimitri Rassam of Chapter 2 producing.

In a statement, Rassam said, “He’s 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.” The producer noted, however, that film will not be an Escobar biopic, but “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.”