A Mexican actress helped broker the interview between outlaw drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and American actor Sean Penn.
Kate del Castillo, 43, introduced Penn, who wrote about his sit down with El Chapo in Rolling Stone, to El Chapo after gaining the trust of the cartel kingpin. Penn wrote in his article that Guzman wanted to have a movie made about his life, and only trusted the story to del Castillo.
Penn met del Castillo in Los Angeles and they talked about the film idea, but then decided a magazine article would be easier. Del Castillo and Penn traveled together to Mexico in October so Penn could interview the drug lord.
Here’s what you need to know about del Castillo:
1. She Made a Controversial Post Supporting El Chapo in 2012
Kate del Castillo, who once played the wife of a drug lord on a Mexican soap opera, attracted El Chapo’s attention in 2012 when she made a controversial post on social media about him and his cartel.
“Today I believe more in El Chapo Guzman than in the governments that hide the truth from me even though it is painful,” she wrote. She also appealed to the drug lord directly:
Mr. Chapo: Wouldn’t it be cool if you started to traffic in goodness? With cures for diseases, with food for children in the street, with alcohol for nursing homes. … trafficking with corrupt politicians instead of with women and children that end up as slaves? With burning all the pimps that treat a woman like she’s worth no more than a pack of cigarettes? With no supply there is no demand. Do it, sir, and you would be the hero of heroes. Let’s traffic with love. You know how.
Penn wrote in his Rolling Stone article that Guzman reached out to del Castillo through his lawyer after seeing the post, sending her flowers in gratitude. It was that same lawyer who contacted del Castillo after El Chapo’s escape to tell her about Guzman’s interest in having a film made about her life, Penn said.
“He was interested in seeing the story of his life told on film, but would entrust its telling only to Kate,” Penn wrote.
2. She Began Acting in 1978 & Became One of Mexico’s Top Actresses
Del Castillo began acting in 1978, when she was only 8. She rose to become one of the most popular actresses in Mexico, and has also appeared in American films and television shows, including Jane the Virgin, Weeds and the movie The 33.
She is set to star in the upcoming Netflix Spanish-language series Ingobernable.
Del Castillo has often used her stardom to promote her love for animals. She has worked with the Humane Society of the United States to speak out against puppy mills, urging people to adopt dogs instead of buying puppies.
The actress also launched her own tequila line last year.
3. The Mexico City Native Has Been Married Twice
Del Castillo was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and now lives in Los Angeles, California.
She has been married twice and does not have any children. In 2001 she married Luis Garcia, a Mexican soccer player. They divorced in 2004. She married Aaron Diaz, a Mexican actor, in 2009. They divorced in 2011.
The Mexican media thought Sean Penn and del Castillo were possibly dating when they were spotted together in October.
4. She Took a Shot at Donald Trump After Becoming an American Citizen in September
Del Castillo became an American citizen in September, and took a shot at Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump after doing so, the Latin Post reported.
“Donald Trump for your information, I am a new citizen of the United States. I have a voice and do not support you or your animal killer son,” she said on Twitter.
5. Mexican Authorities Want to Interview del Castillo & Penn About the Interview
Mexican authorities are seeking to interview del Castillo and Penn about their meeting with El Chapo Guzman, CNN reports.
A Mexican law enforcement source said they specifically want to learn more about where the meeting took place, according to CNN.