Despite marrying and divorcing Madonna, winning two Oscars and palling around with the likes of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, Sean Penn was unknown to Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman before their infamous interview, text messages from the cocaine kingpin reveal.
While communicating with his lawyer via text message ahead of the October sit-down with Penn, El Chapo made it clear that he’d never heard of the actor who shot to stardom following his role as a stoner in the 1982 teen comedy “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
“He was in the movie ’21 Grams,’” El Chapo’s lawyer wrote, according to a transcript posted online by the Mexican newspaper “Milenio.”
“’21 Grams,’ when was that made?” El Chapo asked.
After saying he needed to look up the date, the lawyer answered “’21 Grams’ was made in 2003…He’s also a political activist…He’s been very critical of the Bush administration.”
The texts — which were intercepted by Mexican authorities and confirmed as authentic by Agence France-Presse — are among nearly 200 obtained by Mileno.
In addition to the discussion about Penn, they also reveal flirtatious exchanges between El Chapo and Mexican soap-opera actress Kate del Castillo, who arranged the actor’s interview of the then-fugitive crime kingpin.
The pair discussed meeting over tequila and Champagne, with El Chapo vowing to “take care of you more than my eyes.”
“You’re so beautiful, my friend, in every aspect,” he gushed.
Del Castillo responded: “I must confess that I feel protected for the first time. You’ll know my story when we have time to speak, but for some reason I feel safe and I know you know who I am, not as an actress or a public figure, but as a woman, as a person.”
After Penn and del Castillo met with El Chapo at a jungle hideout, she texted him that he’d made a major impression on her, and she was very interested in working on a film about his life.
“I don’t sleep much since I saw you. I’m very excited about our story….It’s all I think about,” she wrote on Oct. 10.
“I’m more excited about you than the story,” he replied.
El Chapo also texted her birthday greengings when she turned 43 on Oct. 25.
“What a nice birthday gift! Thank you! We will hug very soon!” she wrote back.
Mexican officials said Tuesday that El Chapo’s “almost obsessive” interest in del Castillo helped lead to his capture on Friday, six months after he broke out of a maximum-security prison through a tunnel outfitted with a rail-riding motorcycle.
Meanwhile, one of El Chapo’s lawyers said Wednesday that Penn lied when he wrote in Rolling Stone that El Chapo had boasted of being the world’s biggest drug dealer.
“It’s a lie, absurd speculation from Mr. Penn,” Juan Pablo Badillo told Reuters.
“Mr. Penn should be called to testify…about the stupidities he has said.”
In his 10,000-word article, Penn claimed that El Chapo “proudly” told him, without promoing: told him, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”
El Chapo is currently awaiting extradition to the US, where he faces trial in seven federal courts from California to New York.