At theWrap's Screening Series, co-director talks about drugs, sports and filmmaking in a menacing enviroment
"The Two Escobars" started out as a movie about one Escobar: Colombian soccer star Andres Escobar, whose promising career, and life, came to an abrupt end when he was murdered in 1994 in the aftermath of Escobar accidentally scoring an "own goal" in a World Cup match, sending his highly-touted national team to a crushing defeat.
Directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist soon realized that their story was drawing them toward another, unrelated Escobar: Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the head of a cartel that used soccer both to launder money and to indulge a passion.
Working on a concentrated 14-month schedule in a risky enviroment ("I work an 85-hour week, and there's two of me," says Jeff Zimbalist, parroting a favorite line from "The Social Network"), the brothers completed the film that showed in ESPN's "30 for 30" series over the summer, but also had an Oscar qualifying run and a theatrical release.
At theWrap Screening Series' presentation of "The Two Escobars" on Wednesday night, Jeff Zimbalist sat for a video interview, and talked about finding that his story reached far beyond the borders of sport … realizing that a movie he was making for ESPN demanded a theatrical release as well … fearing for his safety as he delved into the world of drugs and crime in Colombia … and coming face-to-face with bravado and nostalgia, not regret, from Pablo Escobar's former foot-soldiers.
But we started with Elvis.