Netflix filming ‘El Chapo’ crime drama in Colombia
Netflix and the Univision network have reportedly been doubling Colombia for Mexico for a drama series based on the life of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
Guzman is accused of smuggling drugs from Mexico to the US through his Sinaloa cartel – named after a region of western Mexico on the Gulf of California.
He is currently in prison in New York awaiting trial. His nickname ‘El Chapo’ translates as ‘Shorty’.
Filming started on the drama series before Guzman was extradited to the US, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.
“Colombia was a good option, because we have well-trained crews and it is very similar in appearance to Mexico,” producer Daniel Posada told AP.
Production in Colombia has focused on the town of Tabio, 30 miles north of capital Bogota. The town resembles rural Mexico in appearance and subtle visual effects will be used to complete the transformation for the series.
Colombia’s international production profile has risen since the government launched a formal incentive programme. Over the past year or so the country has hosted scenes for features including The Lost City of Z and The Belko Experiment, as well as the Pablo Escobar series Narcos, also from Netflix.
Mexico is less popular as an international filming location but does occasionally host high-profile shoots. James Bond movie Spectre famously recreated Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City and US zombie drama spinoff Fear the Walking Dead has used water tank facilities at Baja Film Studios.