Thanks to Entourage, Pablo Escobar had become a bit of a Hollywood joke. Medellin was the failed movie that Vincent Chase made. Last year, Netflix showed Pablo Escobar meant business with their landmark series Narcos. The show told parallel stories of Escobar (Wagner Moura)’s rise in the Colombian drug trade, and DEA agents (Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal) pursuing him.
Now, season two deals with the inevitable. Pablo Escobar did die and season two will take us right up to his death. Wagner Moura gave one last interview about Pablo Escobar and Narcos after a Television Critics Association panel. Season 2 of Narcos is now streaming on Neflix.
Is it bittersweet for you because this is a meaty portion of Pablo’s life, but at the end you don’t get to play him anymore?
Yeah, it is. I dedicated a big part of my life to this. It was a very important thing for me, not only career-wise. I had a very big experience in my life. I had to learn Spanish and move to Colombia. I spent two years there. I brought my kids to Colombia, put them in schools there so they could learn Spanish and be with me. I’ve learned a lot about the drug trade which is something that really resonates with me as a Latin American man. I was working with actors from Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina. For a Brazilian, this is a big deal because we are so isolated in South America. Actually Narcos was a very, very important thing for me but it wasn’t nice to spend two years with that energy. I had to change my body so I was super chubby. I gained 40 pounds. It was not my body anymore. So it was a mix, like you said, of different emotions.
Did you always know it was only going to be two seasons?
Yeah. When we wrapped the first season, Netflix didn’t immediately say there was going to be a second one. In the first one, we cover 15 years of Pablo’s life. From the day he escapes from La Catedral to the day he dies is one year. So I couldn’t even think of having a third season. I knew that if there was something else, it’s going to be the second season and that’s it.
What is it like to live in that body?
It’s not comfortable. It’s weird because it’s not that you bring the character to your life, but what actors do takes place in our bodies. So we’re doing that every day, every day killing people, it’s not a good energy. So the first thing I did when I wrapped was I went on a diet but not only to lose weight, but to get rid of him. So I went on a vegan diet, to clean up myself. I went to this crazy doctor in Colombia, very interesting guy actually, who was doing a treatment with colors, color therapy. I don’t kind of believe in those things but it was amazing. Also, not eating meat, which was good. I felt like I was cleaning up myself.
What can you say about the second season?
I think that the first season was more epic. I think that Narcos has this balance of the epic and the dramatic, but the first season is very epic in terms of we really explain to people how the drug trade works. We have the voiceover, the real footage. We still have the same thing. It’s the same style in the second one, but the second one, given the fact that it covers only one year of Pablo’s life, it’s very focused on Pablo on the run. So it’s more dramatic than epic. It’s more focused on the characters and how a character like Pablo that we are used to seeing so powerful in the first season, what is the breaking point of a guy like that? So we’re going to see him in situations that we never saw him in, emotional situations that we never saw him in in the first one. It’s basically about Pablo on the run. Also Tata and Pablo’s family, Tata becomes a very, very important character in the second season.
You had a lot of time to think about it. How did you approach the ultimate death scene?
So of course the scene where Pablo gets killed was really emotional for me because, like your first question, I was saying goodbye to him. Not only me, but the whole crew that was living with that character for so long. We shot the scene in the very same place where the real Pablo was killed which emotionally was strong. On the same rooftop where the real Pablo was killed. That was a very emotional scene for me. In that scene, we tried to be, because there was so much footage about it, so in terms of aesthetics, we tried to be as accurate as we could. But the scenes that precede that scene, that come before that scene are scenes that I don’t want to spoil, are scenes that prepared me for what was going to happen to him.
You learned Spanish, is it more natural to speak Spanish this season?
Oh yeah, now my Spanish is very much better than my English.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to direct a film in Brazil now, a film about a Brazilian guerrilla, a guy who fought against the dictatorship back in the ‘70s in Brazil called Carlos Marighella. Another political thing. It’s going to be a difficult one but I’m very, very excited about it.
One thing that’s going to be great is the fact that I’m not going to act in the film. I feel, though I’m losing weight and getting rid of him, I feel that anything I would do in the next months would be impregnated by Pablo. Anything, like a comedy, so I have to get rid of this and it’s going to be great that I’m just going to be directing the film and not acting in it.