El Chapo, The App!

To: All staff

From: The Partners, Creative Artists Agency

Re: Multi-platform opportunities

A lot of headlines over the weekend about the capture of Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, and congratulations to our friends south of the border, but come on -- how about our very own Sean Penn!

(Ha, we were gonna say “Give it up for Sean Penn!” but no need to rub the salt in those wounds. Sorry El Chapo. Let’s talk again when you’re out of turnaround.) 

What a coup, though, for our client to brave the jungles of Mexico to heroically scout a biopic on a man responsible for thousands -- or tens of thousands of murders -- en route to trafficking thousands of tons of cocaine, meth, heroin, ecstasy and weed to the United States, without which no motion picture or music track would ever get produced.



So much to be proud of. First, there is Sean’s clarity of thinking, in discerning a difference between senseless and sensible slaughter, namely: ROI

I'd seen plenty of video and graphic photography of those beheaded, exploded, dismembered or bullet-riddled innocents, activists, courageous journalists and cartel enemies alike. I was highly aware of committed DEA and other law-enforcement officers and soldiers, both Mexican and American, who had lost their lives executing the policies of the War on Drugs. The families decimated, and institutions corrupted.

I took some comfort in a unique aspect of El Chapo's reputation among the heads of drug cartels in Mexico: that, unlike many of his counterparts who engage in gratuitous kidnapping and murder, El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests. 

Yes, Sean, it’s only business. Bravo. Which is precisely what intrigues us about your exploits. We readily admit we tend to have tunnel vision about our talent. We pigeonhole folks as actors, recording artists, directors, etc. Such pioneers as Sean Penn remind us that there are other platforms, whether your brooding film drama, your human rights NGO, your insufferable lefty pontification, your 10,000-word article in Rolling Stone. This is exactly the kind of multi-platform thinking that will take our clientele to the next level.

Now, we are admittedly blue-skying here. Let’s keep this convo all internal for the moment. But where do the other opportunities reside -- fugitive-wise?

Joseph Kony?

You know -- the guerrilla leader in charge of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. The displacement of two million people is certainly cinematic, along "Gone With the Wind" lines, and the 30,000 child abductions/conscriptions could play well to Generation Z. Being forced to kill their own parents….this would blow "The Hunger Games" away, we think. But how to reach out? We should start some discussions with management of, maybe, Meryl Streep, to see if she wants to do a long-form interview with him, or maybe co-appearance on an online show. Is there a "War Criminals Drinking Coffee in Cars"-type thing we can explore? If not Meryl, maybe Megadeth.  

Jeff Foxworthy? Again, just spitballing.

From there “Where are they now?” file there’s this fellow William Bradford Bishop Jr., remember, back in 1976? He killed his wife, mother and three kids and disappeared? This has Bobby DeNiro written all over it -- in a film, obvs, but perhaps first we flush the guy out with a reality series called “Robert DeNiro Wants to Play William Bradford Bishop Jr.?” Boom.

“Where in the World is Ayman al-Zawahiri?” Boom.

Kanye rapping about/issuing a fragrance collection with Dr. Mengele. (Or D.B. Cooper, whoever we can clear the rights with.) Boom. Boom.

Mind you, it will be hard to match what Sean has brought to the table. With the El Chapo story, first of all, his instincts prevented him from diverting too much focus on Joaquin Guzman from himself. Eight thousand of the 10,000 words were magnificently Sean-centric. But on top of that was the fearless journalism:

Do you consider yourself a violent person?
No, sir.

Are you prone to violence, or do you use it as a last resort?
Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never. 

With respect to your activities, what do you think the impact on Mexico is? Do you think there is a substantial impact?
Not at all. Not at all. 

We hear avocado is good for you, lime is good for you, guanabana is good for you. But we never hear anyone doing any publicity with respect to drugs. Have you done anything to induce the public to consume more drugs?
Not at all. That attracts attention. People, in a way, want to know how it feels or how it tastes. And then the addiction gets bigger. 

How is your relationship with your mom?
My relationship? Perfect. Very well. 

Is it one of respect?
Yes, sir, respect, affection and love. 

Don’t be intimidated, team. Be inspired. He is not just a courageous humanitarian, he is a cross-channel visionary. We suppose we can announce it here and now. Keep your eyes on iTunes for “App-ologist: Sean Penn and Evil Monsters Explain What a Hypocrite You Are.”  And the ink isn’t even dry on this deal: “El Chapo Speaks” is being gamified!

Spoiler alert: Sean leads the authorities directly to their target.

9 comments about "El Chapo, The App!".
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  1. Barbara Lippert from, January 11, 2016 at 2:26 p.m.

    Both RS and Penn desperately need some ethics and better editors. 

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, January 11, 2016 at 2:57 p.m.

    In fairness, the actual journalists writing for Rolling Stone haven't been doing much better.

  3. Paula Zimmerman-Taylor from Paula Taylor, January 11, 2016 at 3:03 p.m.

    This is hysterical, you nailed the way media works in the Millennial age.
    All branding and marketing, no human rights.

  4. Tom Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, January 11, 2016 at 6:32 p.m.

    Soooo.....Sean Penn can find this dude but the combined forces of the world's intelligence services cannot? Uh-huh. 

    Reminds me of the time Peter Arnett of CNN was able to track Usama bin Laden down in a cave a couple years before 9/11, yet nobody else could, just so UBL could declare Jihad on the USA for all Americans to see. We know how that turned out. Donald Trump, who Guzman has already threatened to kill, best keep those Craft bodyguards he's got -- with double-pay overtime. 

    Otherwise, another great piece from the near-peerless BGarf. Not sure this is a laughing matter, though. 

  5. Chuck Lantz from, network, January 11, 2016 at 8:54 p.m.

    Here's a bit of historical perspective regarding Rolling Stone.  Way back when Jan Wenner published the first edition of RS and distributed it in the Haight in San Francisco, it was received with more than a little disdain and suspicion by the hard-core freak community, who saw RS as an attempt to commercially benefit from the pioneering efforts of the Berkeley Barb and other such "underground" publications.

    While many RS articles were truly great and accepted as such back then, the general attitude was "Wow, ... for an RS article, this isn't half bad", since most of their stuff was obvious commercial eyeball-luring junk, aimed directly at the wannabes while pretending to be aimed at the "real" freaks.   So, it appears nothing has changed since then.

    (FYI: The term "freaks" was the standard self-identification back then. The term "hippie" was only used in jest, or by the media.)

  6. Tom Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA replied, January 11, 2016 at 11:03 p.m.

    Ha! Sometimes I like being wrong. Looks like Sean set him up.

  7. George Simpson from George H. Simpson Communications, January 12, 2016 at 12:01 p.m.

    If only Sean Penn was a  U Va grad....

  8. Tom Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA replied, January 12, 2016 at 3 p.m.

    Chuck -- Have you read Dave McGowan's "Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon"? Highly recommended. It addresses Rolling Stone's dual loyalties -- so-called revolution and commerce -- among many other interesting things.

  9. Chuck Lantz from, network, January 12, 2016 at 7:27 p.m.

    As this whole tale unfolds, it's possible that Penn and others involved could be moved from the "zero" to "hero" column. And considering how completely ruthless cartel revenge can be, I'm not using the term "hero" loosely.

    (Tom: Thanks for that book tip. I will definitely check it out.)

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