With all the buzz surrounding The Infiltrator, where a U.S. Customs officer (played by Bryan Cranston) discovers Pablo Escobar’s extravagant money laundering scheme, we couldn’t help but think who played the Colombian drug kingpin best.
1. No. 1: Andrés Parra, Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal
No. 1: Andrés Parra, Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal
Fellow Colombian and only countryman on the list, Parra, easily delivered the best portrayal of the Colombian drug lord ever. The accent was perfect, the fits of rage, the sly sense of humor, even his weight gain was spot on. “In some moments I wasn’t Andrés Parra anymore, they would yell at me “Pablo” in the street,” Parra told La Semana.
2. No. 2: Wagner Moura, Narcos
No. 2: Wagner Moura, Narcos
Perhaps, the most critically acclaimed on-screen story involving Escobar, Netflix’s Narcos had everyone watching a series in almost complete Spanish. And it helped that Moura played Escobar as ruthless as he was in real life. Yet, the biggest gripe with Latinos, particularly Colombians, was his accent. Clearly, he’s a Brazilian actor, with Portuguese as his first language. But the guy learned Spanish specifically for this role. It should count for something.
3. No. 3: Benicio del Toro, Escobar: Paradise Lost
No. 3: Benicio del Toro, Escobar: Paradise Lost
The best Latino actor of time tried his hand at the Colombian anti-hero. How did he do? Decent. Because even at his worst, Del Toro is better than half of Hollywood. Here he’s slightly better. Again, the accent needs work but it would’ve helped if the storyline (an American surfer falls for Escobar’s niece) had some validity.
4. No. 4: Cliff Curtis, Blow
No. 4: Cliff Curtis, Blow
The New Zealand-born actor wasn’t the main character in the Johnny Depp-led biopic…but he left his mark. Adapted by journalist Bruce Porter’s book, Blow is more about George Jung who was Escobar’s top importer of drugs. Curtis’s Escobar is a man of few words and deadly actions.
5. No. 5: Adrien Grenier/Vincent Chase, Entourage
No. 5: Adrien Grenier/Vincent Chase, Entourage
It was meant to be a joke. And boy was it ever. Medellin, the fictional Escobar biopic in HBO’s Entourage, took its lead character (Chase), planted pounds of prosthetics, bad dialogue and killed his career. It took him seasons to get out of the massive hole.