MEXICO CITY: Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman could sue Netflix and Univision to stop their plans to make a television series about his life, his lawyers said Thursday.
The American TV streaming giant and Spanish-language broadcaster announced joint plans this month for a series on Mexico’s most infamous criminal, due to air next year.
But Guzman’s lawyers, who are helping their client fight extradition to the United States, said the companies needed to negotiate with “El Chapo” first.
“Mr Guzman isn’t dead, he isn’t a personality in the public domain. He’s alive. He has to grant them the rights (to his story). We could sue them because they don’t have authorization for a series or a movie,” lawyer Andres Granados told Mexican radio network Formula.
“He has told us that if they already have this project, we can negotiate with them so it doesn’t go to waste and we don’t wear ourselves out with a lawsuit. But as of today they have not approached us.”
Granados said any such negotiations would have to cover not only the rights to Guzman’s name but also the content of the series, since his client is facing a potential trial in the United States and does not want his image stained there.
The History Channel has also announced plans for an original drama series on Guzman’s life.
Ironically, it was Guzman’s desire to see his life story on screen that seems to have led to his capture.
Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped from a maximum-security prison in July 2015 — his second dramatic jailbreak — and spent six months on the run, to the deep embarrassment of the Mexican government.
He was rearrested in January after a high-profile manhunt that ended with Hollywood star Sean Penn and US-Mexican TV actress Kate del Castillo inadvertently leading the authorities to his hideout.
Del Castillo said the drug boss agreed to the meeting, which Penn wrote about in Rolling Stone magazine, because he wanted to discuss making a film about his life.
Guzman is wanted in Texas and California on charges including homicide, drug trafficking and money laundering.
His legal team is currently working on appealing the Mexican government’s decision last week to approve his extradition to the United States.