The actor who plays Mexican druglord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán on the Netflix show “Narcos: Mexico” visited federal court on Monday to get a glimpse of the man himself.
Alejandro Edda, the 34-year-old Mexican actor, got more than just a glimpse, too. After Guzmán entered court and spoke to his attorneys, he turned around and made eye contact with the actor, gave him a smile and nodded.
Like any member of the public, Edda had to wait in line to get inside. He arrived at federal court in New York around 5:30 a.m. and waited in the below-freezing temperatures to enter.
“It’s a rare opportunity,” Edda told CNN. “What else could be better than to see the man in real life, learn his mannerisms.”
When he got inside, Edda spoke briefly with two of Guzmán’s attorneys, Eduardo Balarezo and William Purpura. Guzmán later entered the courtroom, spoke with his attorneys, then turned to make eye contact with Edda and smile and nod.
“It was very surreal. I’m shaking,” Edda said.
Edda plays Guzmán on “Narcos: Mexico,” the crime drama that follows the rise of the illegal drug trade in Mexico. The show is set in the 1980s and depicts Guzmán as a small-time figure in the drug war under Félix Gallardo, the leader of the Guadalajara Cartel.
Edda said he decided to come to court because there is little video of Guzmán, and he wanted to make sure to be able to study the drug kingpin’s mannerisms. Edda said he is on a short break right now and will resume filming his scenes for Season 2 in February.
Edda is originally from Puebla, Mexico, and said he works with friends from Sinaloa to make sure he delivers turns of phrase and accents used by locals appropriately.
Guzmán has pleaded not guilty to charges of international drug trafficking, conspiracy, gun charges and money laundering. The trial has focused on the details of his alleged sprawling criminal enterprise that moved drugs into the United States.
The trial has also featured stunning allegations of wrongdoing, such as when a close personal aide to Guzmán testified that the drug kingpin paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Peña Nieto’s former chief of staff denied the allegation, saying it was “false, defamatory and absurd.”
Edda told CNN he didn’t realize he could come see Guzman in person, but he got in contact with reporters through Twitter to get more information about the trial. He says he’s in town for the week and is staying at an Airbnb in Brooklyn.
“It was perfect timing for me,” Edda said. “I didn’t know I could come in here.”