Actress Kate Del Castillo has accused Sean Penn of lying about his intentions to meet with fugitive drug lord El Chapo.
The Mexican beauty helped to orchestrate the Milk actor's top secret meeting with El Chapo last year (15), while he was on the run from authorities, after having been in contact with his representatives about a possible movie biopic.
Penn ended up sitting down for a seven-hour interview with the crime boss, real name Joaquin Guzman, as part of an article he was hoping to write about the war on drugs for Rolling Stone magazine. The piece was subsequently published a day after El Chapo was recaptured by authorities in January (16).
The Oscar winner alleged he had been upfront about his journalistic plans with del Castillo, but she has blasted the claim in her first in-depth interview with the New Yorker magazine, branding the reports, "Total and complete bulls**t."
Del Castillo insists she was surprised when Penn pitched the Rolling Stone chat directly to El Chapo, recalling, "This was not how I was expecting the night to be. But at the moment I thought, maybe we can base the movie on this article."
She goes on to poke holes in Penn's account of the meeting in the middle of the Mexican jungle, insisting he failed to get his facts straight on a number of issues, including passing through a "military checkpoint" with El Chapo's son, Alfredo Guzman, upon their arrival in the country in October (15). Penn's story suggested Mexican soldiers knew exactly where the escaped convict had been hiding out, but the actress insists there was never any military checkpoint.
Her involvement in the big meeting has landed her in trouble with Mexican authorities, who maintain Del Castillo and Penn helped to lead them to El Chapo's hiding place for his eventual arrest.
Despite the furor and government investigation, which the actress describes as a "witch hunt", the Los Angeles-based star is refusing to drop her plans to turn El Chapo's life into a film, which she reportedly retains the rights to.
The incarcerated drug lord is also keen to keep the movie plans alive, with one of his lawyers telling the New Yorker it "has to go forward".