Kate del Castillo, the Mexican actress who agreed to an arranged meeting with alleged drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman last year while he was on the run from authorities, sat down for an in-depth interview recently about what that meeting was like and why actor Sean Penn was involved.
Kate says she was contacted by people representing El Chapo, who said he wanted to have a sit-down with her to give her permission to his life story for a movie. Sean Penn, she says, was interested in the possibility of such a film and came along after she agreed to meet up with El Chapo in a secret mountain location after he escaped from prison last July.
When they got there, she says, Sean Penn mentioned that he was working on an article for Rolling Stone about the encounter, something she maintains he never told her about beforehand. The news threw her off and she had to work to keep her reaction neutral so El Chapo wouldn't see her surprise and think something shady was going on. Later, she found herself alone with him for a moment as everyone was going to bed and says it was one of the most intense moments she's had.
"I was waiting for him to make a move. I had no idea what intentions he had...everything happened in my head Those seconds were crucial for me. I thought everything. My heart started pounding...I actually got the guts to tell him. I felt, this is now or never, and if I don’t say it right now, I might not have another opportunity. And if I say it, these might be my last words."
Kate del Castillo says she told El Chapo, "You’re a powerful man. You can do something good.' I was literally dying inside. I thought, if he gets mad, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I thought I was gonna faint."
Sean Penn maintains that he was never there because of interest in a film, and that Kate simply wants to distance herself from the meeting due to attention she's received from the Mexican authorities.
"I stand by my piece. I think Kate would be happier to separate herself from recollections that inflame the Mexican government at this point," Penn said.