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How John Leguizamo Spent $15,000 on Make Up Work to Prove He Could Play Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar John Leguizamo
AP Photo/John Lequizamo, Twitter

Talk about betting big on yourself.

John Leguizamo – a respected actor, but not entirely known for his dramatic chops – spent over $15,000 of his own money on make-up artists and prosthetics to physically transform himself into Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in the hopes of winning the role in the upcoming biopic ‘King of Cocaine.’ And, guess what? It worked.

After seeing the test and being unable to tell the difference between the real Escobar and Leguizamo in make-up, the actor won the part.

Recently, Oscar Isaac (star of the upcoming Coen Brothers film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis‘) dropped out of the starring role in ‘King of Cocaine’ and Leguizamo saw his chance. He convinced director Brad Furman (who he worked with previously on the 2007 movie ‘The Take’) to film the process and show his audition to producers. Initially, Furman and Leguizamo were told that the actor wasn’t a big enough draw at the box-office and that they were looking for a bigger star. But, when they put a picture of Escobar and the Colombian-born Leguizamo side-by-side, they couldn’t tell the difference and were convinced they had found their man.

‘King of Cocaine’ is one of many Pablo Escobar films in the works including ‘Killing Pablo’ from director Joe Carnahan and an Oliver Stone-produced film titled ‘Escobar.’

Below, you can watch part of the process, as Leguizamo’s make-up team applying what we’ll assume is plaster on his face to create the prosthetics, plus a final shot (minus the wig) after the transformation. What do you think? Is Leguizamo the perfect choice for the role?

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