Armie Hammer has secured rights to the life story of drug cartel leader Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez-Villarreal, TheWrap has learned.
Valdez-Villarreal was a Texas high school football star-turned-drug trafficker and, like Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, was the subject of a Rolling Stone magazine profile. Valdez-Villarreal is currently facing life in prison. He pleaded guilty this month to trafficking and money laundering as a chief lieutenant in Mexico’s Beltrán-Leyva Cartel.
“Owning La Barbie’s life rights was the most important thing to us,” Hammer told BuzzFeed, which first reported the news. “We knew that having direct access to him meant access to stories that were never intended to see the light of day.”
Details were not available about where the project might end up, or if Hammer plans to star. Legendary Pictures has an option on the Rolling Stone story written by Vanessa Grigoriadis and Mary Cuddehe.
Valdez-Villarreal was dubbed “La Barbie” for his light complexion. Grigoriadis and Cuddehe described the 42-year-old as violent, vengeful and “chillingly detached, unable to see the connection between his personal savagery and the way his own family and friends came to fear him.”
Hammer will next be seen in Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” to premiere at January’s Sundance Film Festival.