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In the last few years, many filmmakers have been working to try and tell the big screen story of the Medellin Cartel. Both the operation itself, as well as those that were a part of it, have inspired several creative teams to set up shop and tell their own part of the true tale. Everyone from Antoine Fuqua and Jake Gyllenhaal to Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay are working on their own drug trade dramas, and Benecio Del Toro is headlining the first of the pack to be released, Escobar: Paradise Lost. As though the playing field wasn't crowded enough, now Tom Cruise and Doug Liman have been revealed as having some plans of their own for the narrative.
Deadline broke the story that Cruise and Liman are in negotiations to work on the film Mena, a biopic detailing the life of pilot Barry Seal, who ran all sorts of contraband for the Medellin Cartel through the Arkansas town from which the film gets its name. The trade story also name drops Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton as possible historical figures that will be at the very least mentioned in the film's events, as the film takes place in the 1980s heyday of the cartel that would eventually take Seal's life.
Much like Fuqua and Gyllenhaal's The Man Who Made It Snow, Mena could see a pair of effective collaborators re-teaming to bring the history of one of the most successful and infamous criminal organizations to cinemas worldwide. Considering how much positive notice Edge Of Tomorrow netted both Tom Cruise and Doug Liman, their work on such an awards season friendly project could mean a big time smash on the horizon for both of them. Not to mention, as Deadline noted in their story, Tom Cruise is a bit of a pilot himself, which means that the man who loves to do his own stunts could be doing his own flying in the near future.
With Mena now in the mix, all bets are off as to which of the countless Medellin based projects will get off the ground first. Considering the star power and work ethic of Tom Cruise and Doug Liman, one could assume that Mena would be the ringer. However, Liman is currently attached to Railman, and Cruise is still working on Mission: Impossible 5, so it wouldn't be too surprising to hear some sort of go or no-go status on the project in the coming months. This means that if you're making a project based on the Medellin Cartel, now's a good time to pitch it to a studio head.
For now, the first of the long line of Medellin Cartel pictures, Escobar: Paradise Lost, will be released on Friday.