Loving Pablo: Javier Bardem as Colombian Drug Lord Escobar

Loving Pablo, about Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, is a passion project for Oscar winner Javier Bardem.

He teams with real-life wife, Penelope Cruz, who plays Escobar’s lover.

The biopic, which premiered at the Venice Film Fest before Toronto festival, is directed by Spain’s Fernando Leon de Aranoa, based on the book “Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar,” by Virginia Vallejo, the Colombian journalist with whom Escobar had an affair.

Bardem spoke about the challenges of bringing “Pablo” to the screen and working with Cruz for the first time since they’ve become a couple.

I really wanted to make this movie in Spanish. But we tried and tried, and just couldn’t find the financing. Then, to move things forward, we decided we would do it in English, with Spanish accents, and we were able to mount the production.
But Bardem is not going to dub himself into Spanish: “I have tried to dub myself in Spanish several times for my American movies. But at this point in my career my dubber is better than I am at capturing the nuances in Spanish of how my voice sounds in English. Also, Spanish audiences by now are used to his voice. So If I dubbed myself in Spanish, it would throw them off.

AS for preparation for the role, the actor said: “I tried to learn where his monstrous behavior came from. I was very interested in diving into Pablo’s inner self. What was going on inside Escobar’s mind that made him capable of so much harm, while at the same time he was very loving, and took care of his family and his lover. He was not somebody who appeared outwardly threatening.