Sony has acquired the rights to Cole Merrell’s “Hunting El Chapo: The Thrilling Inside Story of The American Lawman Who Captures The World’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord,” an upcoming book about the long and ultimately successful pursuit of the cartel boss, TheWrap has learned.
The studio is also in negotiations with Michael Bay to come aboard the project as a producer and potentially direct the film.
Will Rowbotham and Richard Abate are producing the movie. 3 Arts represented the book. Matt Milam is overseeing the project for the studio.
Merrell, a pseudonym for the DEA agent who led the pursuit of El Chapo, wrote the book with Douglas Century. It will be released by HarperCollins on Oct. 17.
El Chapo, born Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, is the longtime head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and was one of the world’s most wanted — and richest — criminals for years. He escaped from prison twice, the last time in 2015, when he slipped out through a secret tunnel dug to connect to his jailhouse shower. In 2001, Guzman escaped from a different prison with the help of compromised guards that wheeled him out in a laundry cart.
He was recaptured in January 2016, shortly after he met with actor Sean Penn and Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, with Penn interviewing Guzman for a Rolling Stone cover story. Guzman was cleared for extradition in May and was transported to the United States this January. His trial is expected to begin this fall.