NARCOS – from Rio to Hollywood
You are here
Home > Culture > NARCOS – from Rio to Hollywood

NARCOS – from Rio to Hollywood

The Netflix series about the most famous and notorious drug lord, in history, Pablo Escobar is played by the extremely talented Brazilian actor Wagner Moura. Now confirming more than ever that Netflix is not TV-series, Netflix makes movies divided into different chapters.

The Netflix series about the most famous and notorious drug lord, in history, Pablo Escobar is played by the extremely talented Brazilian actor Wagner Moura.  Now confirming more than ever that  Netflix is not TV-series, Netflix makes movies divided  into different chapters.  

Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar

Narcos portrays what has long been known as the magical realism in Latin America. In fact the very first episode in the series addresses the magical realism and how it was once described by Latin- American novelist,  Gabriel García Márquez .

Narcos is an American production about a Colombian druglord but with a strong Brazilian flare.  The Brazilian actor Wagner Moura is brilliant in the role as the legendary drug emperor Pablo Escobar. However Colombians have criticized Moura s Portuguese accent when speaking Spanish.   For the non-latin American such nuances may pass unnoticed and one is left with an impressive performance. Moreover the productions have resisted temptation of letting Pablo Escobar speak English.

The voice-over  follows the series throughout.  In the challenges of  the american investigation on Colombia’s drug cartels, nuances are portrayed and  the grey zones of good and bad behaviour becomes more apparent through the journey of the american agent Steve Murphy.

Wagner Moura is however far from the only Brazilian in the production. The carioca and executive producer and director of the series, Jose Padilha fled from Rio to Los Angeles last year is now making his presence known. Not surprisingly, Padilha invited Moura to work with him considering the tremendous success of the two movies ” Elite Squad” (2007) and the sequel ”Elite Squad: The Enemy within”.  In these movies Moura plays the opponent of the druglords, the military police. In many ways Colombia’s ”barrios” resemble the Brazilian climate of favelas and the long battle between drug-lords and the police.  Another Brazilian factor in the production apart from the producer and the main character is the composer of the introduction soundtrack.  Yes, “Tuyo”(Yours) is from one of former band member of “los hermanos” whom reigned in Rio de Janeiro in the early 2000’s.

Colombia and Rio de Janeiro

narcos 2
Executive Producer José Padilha with actor Wagner Moura on set

The military police in Rio de Janeiro (PMRJ) actually studied Colombia’s initiatives with the war on drugs before implemented the unified police units in the favelas, mostly known as UPP.  In an interview Wagner Moura said that he felt very much at home in Colombia and believed that there were stronger similarities to Brazilian vulture that any other Latin American country that he had ever visited.  One thing is clear,  Brazilian actors, producers  and composers are making themselves known in Hollywood, and it took a story about a Colombian druglord to make it happen.



Narcos and Traficantes

The word ”narcos” is short for “narcotraficante” which means drug lord in both Portuguese and Spanish. Brazil opted for the second part of the word and drug lord here are mostly known as “traficantes”.

Leave a Reply