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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Mexico has monuments built in memory of slain drug lords: Narcos’ Diego Luna, Michael Pena tease new season

Narcos Mexico stars Diego Luna and Michael Pena tease revamped new season of Netflix’s crime drama. The show releases on November 16.

tv Updated: Nov 08, 2018 17:41 IST
Rohan Naahar
Rohan Naahar
Hindustan Times, Singapore
Michael Pena and Diego Luna speak during the Netflix See What's Next event at the Marina Bay Sands on November 8, 2018 in Singapore.
Michael Pena and Diego Luna speak during the Netflix See What's Next event at the Marina Bay Sands on November 8, 2018 in Singapore. (Netflix)

Ahead of the premiere of fourth season of Netflix’s Narcos, now retitled Narcos: Mexico, lead actors Diego Luna and Michael Pena have said that they hope for the show to go beyond providing entertainment to fans. “I live in a Mexico where there is violence. The numbers are crazy. I hope the show will inspire people to go back and find out more about this. It is an issue we all have,” Luna said.

The stars were joined by executive producer Eric Newman at Netflix’s See What’s Next event in Singapore, where they teased an enthusiastic audience with an exclusive new trailer for the show.

Luna, now a veteran of Mexican films, plays notorious drug lord Felix Gallardo in the show. While previous seasons focussed on the Colombian drug trade - the first two seasons told the story of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel and season three explored the Cali Cartel’s crimes - season 4 is being plugged as a great entry point for fans. “The cool thing about season 4 is that it’s a good way for people to be introduced to Narcos, and then go back and watch the previous seasons,” said Newman, who with his thin moustache and slicked black hair looked like a character right out of his show.


Felix Gallardo is ‘alive and in jail’. Luna said that he didn’t want to meet anyone connected to the story - the rise and fall of Mexico’s Guadalajara Cartel - and instead based his research on the several ‘books and documentaries’ available on Gallardo. “There are no good or bad characters,” insisted Luna, who recently appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. “They call him ‘The Businessman’,” Luna said about Gallardo. “He knew how to hide. He had a real necessity of belonging to a community. He owned restaurants and bars and a hotel. There was enough for me to try to understand this guy. I researched the Mexico he was living in.” It was a “Mexico I didn’t know. I grew up in the 80s and my father hid this Mexico from me,” he said.

In Mexico, there are monuments built in the memory of slain drug lords. They’re seen as larger-than-life figures, some of whom have contributed immensely to their towns by bringing jobs and opportunities to their people. These are the traits that Luna reminds himself of to justify some of the behaviour his character has been accused and convicted of.

But his co-star, Michael Pena, sees things from the point of view of his character, DEA agent Kiki Camarena. Kiki is known among drug enforcement officers as almost a Christ-like figure, as someone who laid down his life to save us all - spoiler alert, he was tortured and killed by the men he had vowed to take down. “Drugs kill people, they destroy families,” Pena said. “I don’t know if Kiki wants justice or if he just wants to bring down the bad guy.”

Pena remembers he ‘literally had a day off from working on Ant-Man and the Wasp’ and found it very refreshing to play someone who was so unlike his more comical character in the Marvel films. “What kind of person puts himself in danger?” Pena wondered. “He’s the kind of person who couldn’t sleep at night knowing that these people are out there.”

Narcos: Mexico will be released on Netflix on November 16.

First Published: Nov 08, 2018 17:41 IST