A teaser for Andrea Di Stefano’s Paradise Lost has been released, showing Benicio del Toro (The Usual Suspects) as the infamous drug lord of Colombia. The film also stars Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) as a young man who meets and falls for a beautiful local while in Colombia, only to discover that she is the niece of Pablo Escobar. Aside from making his directorial debut, Andrea Di Stefano – better known for roles in front of the lens, such as Ang Lee’s Life of Pi – also wrote the screenplay. The film, which is in post-production, is expected to be out sometime this year (although there is no official release date).
In the brief teaser, we get a hint of an almost paternal bond between Escobar and Hutcherson’s character that quickly goes awry. Tonally (and perhaps structurally as well), the story seems to tease at a relationship not too dissimilar from that of Forest Whitaker’s Idi Amin and James McCavoy’s Dr. Garrigan in The Last King of Scotland.
Known as “The King of Cocaine”, Pablo Escobar ruled Colombian drug trafficking from the late seventies until the early nineties. For Del Toro, Escobar is just the latest historical figure he has portrayed on celluloid, having played Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s two part epic, Che.
The film shares it’s title with that of the epic poem by the 17th century writer John Milton. Milton’s poem details the Biblical story of the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan, and is certain to share similar themes (temptation, loss of innocence) with Andrea Di Stefano’s film.