Wagner Moura played Pablo Escobar in ‘Narcos’ with perfection and won many awards and accolades. But nobody talks about how difficult it was for Wagner to play such a complex character.
Wagner Moura became an overnight international sensation following his starring role as Pablo Escobar in the Netflix series ‘Narcos’. It was a career breakthrough role for the Brazilian actor which happened through immense preparation and hard work. While it was the role that catapulted Wagner into an international success, playing it was equally frustrating as it was satisfying for Wagner. Well, that’s not new. Every great thing comes with a cost. And, for Wagner, that international fame happened with some very real frustration.
- Wagner Moura’s difficulties while playing Pablo Escobar
- Wagner Moura on playing Pablo Escobar
In a group discussion with Hollywood Reporter’s Emmy roundtable, Wagner opened up about the level of commitment it took from his side to play the role with authenticity. He said that it was the craziest thing that he had done in his career as an actor. He pulled off a Christian Bale and gained 40 pounds to match the physical attributes of the Colombian kingpin.
He added that he was not thin and he did not even speak the Spanish language, let alone getting the Colombian accent right. When the talks about him getting signed were going on, Wagner was sure that he wasn’t getting the part. But the producers were so keen to have him play Pablo Escobar that Wagner did end up getting cast.
WAGNER MOURA ON PLAYING PABLO ESCOBAR
While it was a pleasant thing to be signed on a contract to play such a cult personality on-screen, it came with its own set of troubles. The most difficult thing was understanding the character of Pablo who was as complex as a person can possibly be. While he indulged in the illegal drug trade, he also took care of the Columbian poor and opened many schools, hospitals, and fed many poor people and gave them jobs.
He was thus worshipped in some parts of Rionegro, where he was born. Hence, Wagner had to take special care to make Pablo feel ‘humane’ yet ‘evil’. And while he worked hard on his accent, he was still being mocked and laughed at by the Colombians for his ‘fake accent’.
WAGNER OURA WAS FRUSTRATED WHILE PLAYING PABLO ESCOBAR
Wagner further said in the interview that the shoot took place in many real locations and hence, he had to move to Colombia to shoot the series. It meant that he had to spend some time away from his family, which was the most frustrating aspect of his job as an actor. However, this separation also led him to relate to Pablo more and thus, helped him play the character with more authenticity.
Wagner further shed some light on the production ethics followed during the first season’s shoot. He said that most of the cast and crew members were clueless about most of the things. They somehow did one thing at a time and ended up making the first season highly watchable, which was no less than a miracle.
Despite all this, we believe that playing a complex character for such a long stretch must have been extremely hard for him, as it is with any other actor. Pablo was, and is, the most famous Colombian of all time and hence, playing the role came with a burden for Wagner. No matter how hard he might have tried, the constant pressure of staying in the skin of the character would have been quite overwhelming for him. On top of that, finding authentic sources and meeting people who actually knew Pablo, to prepare for the role, would have added a lot more pressure for Wagner.
All said and done, Wagner’s performance as Pablo Escobar is one of the most striking performances that we have seen this decade. All that frustration is justified when it’s all for the greater purpose of making great art for the audiences.
Tell us in the comments what is your all-time favourite iteration of Pablo Escobar’s character? Also tell us why you think Wagner should play Escobar in the feature film, in which Javier Barden will be playing the drug kingpin.