Monday, September 10, 2007

Entourage In Medellin, Colombia

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The premier episode of HBO's series Entourage is based on the filming of Medellin, a movie on the life of Pablo Escobar and the filming took place on location in Colombia.

Season four of the HBO drama Entourage starring Adrien Greiner and Jeremy Piven changed scenes from Hollywood, California to the jungles of Colombia as the group of actors shoots scenes of the fictional movie Medellin about the life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Escobar (1949-1993) was one of the original leaders of the Colombian drug trade in the 70’s and was listed as 7th on the list of Forbes richest people. His gang worked out of his birthplace of Medellin, Colombia, in the northwest part of the country. He ruthless, brutal and anyone who opposed him disappeared. He had the government so paid off that he was even elected a member of Congress under the Colombian Liberal Party. Escobar bought cocaine from Bolivia and Peru (not Colombia) and made his money transporting it to the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. At its height his empire controlled eighty percent of the world market. He was well loved by Colombia’s poor in Medellin and helped set up public works projects, built a number of churches and soccer stadiums.

For fear of death by the Cali cartel or being extradited to the United States, Escobar turned himself in to Colombian authorities under the condition that he is not extradited and serves a maximum of five years in prison. His luxurious jail, called La Catedral, was built of his own design and Escobar was often seen around town shopping, at soccer games, and at parties. When the government got word he escaped which brought about an international manhunt. A group known as Los Pepes, which was financed by the Cali cartel began a massacre of anyone who was associated with Escobar and more than 300 of his associates, friends, and family members were soon killed. Escobar himself was killed in a shootout with police on December 2, 1993 when he was found staying in a middle class home in Medellin.

The cast and crew actually went to Entourage to film the single episode, which pseudo behind the scenes look at the filming of the entire movie which was said to have taken 6 months. The filming is said to have taken place in Bogota, the capital city, although it is impossible to tell. Bogota is in an area of high mountains in the center of the country and the film set looked of lush tropical jungle, which could have been a number of places around the country.

Much of the episode, which originally aired June 17, 2007 and is entitled “Welcome to the Jungle,” deals with Producer Eric and director Billy Walsh arguing over costs and the filming schedules, mixed in with Walsh’s lusting after the Colombian co-star played by Sofia Vergara.

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