By Alicia Civita
Miami, May 24 (EFE).- The third season of the Spanish-language telenovela “La reina del Sur” (Queen of the South) will feature loads of action and also elements of espionage and political intrigue, lead actress Kate del Castillo said in an exclusive interview with Efe.
“The Telemundo people jealously guard their screenplays and don’t tell us much until (filming) begins, but I do know it starts some time after things left off at the end of the second season,” the Mexican-American actress, producer and businesswoman said shortly before traveling to Colombia, where the first stage of filming will kick off this week.
“What I can tell you is there’s a lot of political intrigue and, obviously, a lot of action, and that the story is incredible because once again (Spanish novelist Arturo) Perez-Reverte was in charge of the story. Just as before, the framework of the action is his,” Del Castillo added.
When American TV network Telemundo produced the first season of “La Reina del Sur” between 2010 and 2011, the idea was to make a serialized adaptation of Perez-Reverte’s like-named novel about a poor Mexican woman who becomes a leader of a drug-trafficking cartel in southern Spain.
The series, however, was such a big success that it marked the beginning of the “narconovela” genre, and the producers moved mountains to convince Perez-Reverte and Del Castillo to come back for a second season.
To everyone’s surprise, the second season was even more popular than the first and made a third season “almost an obligation,” the actress said.
Telemundo has revealed that this latest season begins four years after the end of the second one. Teresa Mendoza is in a maximum-security penitentiary in the United States after being sentenced for the murders of three US Drug Enforcement Administration agents, but she manages to escape with the help of three friends from the underworld.
“As if nothing had happened to Teresa Mendoza before, she’s now going to get into more trouble in worlds she knows nothing about!” Del Castillo joked.
Those worlds involve Teresa’s “frenemy,” Epifanio Vargas (Humberto Zurita), a drug cartel chief who has achieved his ambition to become Mexico’s president and promises to let her and her daughter live in peace in exchange for her help in dismantling the DEA.
Del Castillo said at times it’s hard to believe how permanent of a presence the hard-living Teresa has become in her life, adding that every time she returns to that character she finds more similarities between her and “the real Kate.”
“Teresa and I have a lot of things in common. We’re not diplomatic. Nor do we believe in half measures. We love to the fullest, and nothing stops us,” Del Castillo said.
Impressive physicality is another trait the two share. In fact, Del Castillo said she doesn’t need to get in shape for the action scenes because she’s constantly doing some type of exercise.
“If I didn’t, I’d go crazy,” she told Efe.
Del Castillo also has been involved recently in a range of other projects, including an upcoming film directed by Gary Auerbach – “Cold Dead Hands” – in which she is both the lead actress and one of the executive producers.
“I should say I’m very happy. For a moment, I thought this whole dream could come crashing down,” she said, referring to legal problems stemming from her and American actor-turned-gonzo journalist Sean Penn’s 2015 clandestine meeting with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, who is now serving a life sentence in the US.
Del Castillo, who at one point had expressed interest in making a film about Guzman’s life, faced a money-laundering investigation in her homeland but was never charged with a crime. EFE