In Season Two of Narcos, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is free from the confinements of his ‘prison’ La Catedral, still flogging an unholy amount of cocaine and becoming increasingly unstable. We spoke to Wagner Moura, who plays the kingpin, to see how Pablo’s doing.
As season two starts, Escobar is on the run and at his most vulnerable. Was it quite a contrast to the first season?
“The first season is about birth and it covers, like, 10 years or more, and the second season is, like, less than a year. So we do see him as vulnerable and of course he’s going to be a tough guy until the end, but it was interesting to me to equalise these vulnerabilities. When it goes through his family, that’s his weakest point. He was basically killed because of that.”
Did showing both sides of him turn out to be fun for you?
“I wouldn’t say fun; it was challenging. The first season was more epic than dramatic. I think the second season is absolutely more character-driven and more dramatic than the first one.”
Is there any part of you that sympathises with him and what he was doing for his city and family?
“The emotions you see when you watch Narcos, they’re pretty much my emotions and the way I would react if I were there. It’s not something you create; all of us have everything inside ourselves. If you’re put in a situation where you have to kill someone, you will find it.”
Do you worry the show glamorises him at all?
“No, I really don’t. There’s no other way to portray a person without making him a person. In the show you’re going to see him do a lot of s**t, so you’re killing and torturing and planting bombs. It’s up to you. It’s up to the audience to judge, and feeling sympathy for him is not wrong – it’s a person.”
What was it like shooting his death scene?
“It was very emotional because we actually shot it at the same place where the real Pablo was killed, the same building. All the crew, Boyd Holbrook [Murphy] was there, so everybody involved in Narcos in the last two years knew that was the end of that character. So it was very emotional for all of us.”
Did you ever contact Escobar’s family to get their approval of your portrayal?
“I’ve read basically everything that was written about Pablo, in English and Spanish. I’ve always felt that I was going to create my own version of him because that’s what actors do. So I didn’t want anyone telling me, ‘Oh no, Pablo didn’t walk like that.’ I didn’t want that kind of interference.”
What’s the future for Narcos? Would you return if they told a new story?
“I don’t think so; I think I’m done with the Narcos world. I think they’re going to keep doing it; I don’t know. I think there’s going to be a third season but we never know.”