With “Contraband” hitting theaters this weekend, Mark Wahlberg is out doing the rounds with the press, and he’s game for talking about anything. And to his credit, he’s got a lot to talk about. The actor has a laundry list of projects in the works at any given moment. And one that has been moving in fits and starts for the past little while is “Cocaine Cowboys,” but according to Wahlberg, it could be lensing as early as this summer and not only that, a pretty big name is already looking for a role.
Based on Billy Corben‘s 2006 documentary of the same name, “Cocaine Cowboys” centers on notorious ’70s drug dealer Jon Roberts who moved from New York, where he was involved in gangland takeovers of the city’s nightclubs, to Miami where he was set up with a powerful drug cartel. ‘Cowboys’ was previously a project that Leonardo DiCaprio and director Peter Berg had been attached to, and Wahlberg began circling in 2008. The last we heard was nearly a year ago when David O. Russell said he might be directing it. But as Wahlberg and Russell are now on the outs — the actor told us he is looking for a new director for “The Fighter” sequel — that won’t be happening, but the movie is moving.
Talking on the “Sway in the Morning” Sirius radio show today (via MTV), Wahlberg revealed, “We’re waiting on the script. It’s going to be sooner rather than later. We’re going to shoot that in Miami, hopefully in the summer or the fall.” But that’s not all.
One of the big roles to be cast in the movie is that of Grisela Blanco, a prominent crime family matriarch integral to the Miami scene of the time and it already has one name going after it. “It’s one of those characters that will go down in history. Jennifer Lopez is chasing that [role] like crazy,” Wahlberg revealed. “It’s the role — if I could play Griselda, I would. That’s Academy Award [bait] right there.”
Why is it award bait? Apparently the part will require some serious uglying up of whoever takes it on (just take a look at the image above of Griselda from the original documentary), and it will certainly be a major gear shift for Jenny from the block. But as for who will direct, that question is up in the air. Same goes for who is writing the script, which last we heard was getting a pass by “Generation Kill” writer Evan Wright. But that was a while ago, and there’s no word on who’s been tinkering on it since. Update: ComingSoon reports that Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights“) is now writing the lastest draft.
But with a shoot date looming, it seems to be coming together. Will Lopez get the lead? That will probably depend on if she decides to do another round on “American Idol,” but either way looks like “Cocaine Cowboys” is saddling up.