For weeks, Mexican actress Kate del Castillo has limited her comments about her involvement brokering the Sean Penn-El Chapo meeting to saying only that Mexican authorities were out to “destroy” her. But now she has broken her silence in a lengthy interview published Friday in The New Yorker.
In the interview, which took place at her home in Los Angeles, del Castillo denied any legal wrongdoing in helping Penn and two Hollywood producers secure a meeting with the infamous drug lord. She calls the Mexican government’s investigation of her a “witch hunt” and insists she used her own money to book the charter flight that flew her, Penn and the producers into Mexico to meet El Chapo.
The actress claims that the idea of the meeting was always about developing a film project on El Chapo’s life, and says that at first she had no clue that Penn was planning to interview the kingpin for Rolling Stone. “Total and complete bullshit,” she says in response to the actor’s claim that he told her about his journalistic plans during their first meeting.
Del Castillo also points to a series of factual errors in Penn’s Rolling Stone account.
For example, she says, Penn wrote that when they arrived in Mexico, Chapo’s son, Alfredo Guzmán, drove them passed a military checkpoint.
“And then, as it seems we are at the entrance of Oz, the highest peak visibly within reach, we arrive at a military checkpoint. Two uniformed government soldiers, weapons at the ready, approach our vehicle. Alfredo lowers his passenger window; the soldiers back away, looking embarrassed, and wave us through. Wow. So it is, the power of a Guzmán face. And the corruption of an institution.”
The actress says such a scene never took place, and that the group never passed a military checkpoint — Penn’s account seems to suggest Mexican soldiers were fully aware of el Chapo’s location.
Despite the rocky start, del Castillo insists she will continue pursuing the production of a biopic on Chapo, something that the imprisoned drug lord allegedly also wants to see through.
You can read the full interview here.