MIAMI – “The Corporation,” a biopic about Cuban-American mobster Jose Miguel Battle co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, will feature Benicio del Toro in the leading role.
“I was studying cinema at the University of Miami some 12 years ago when I read Battle’s obituary on the front page of a local newspaper,” Cuban-American filmmaker and Exilium production company partner Jose Daniel “Jaydee” Freixas told EFE. “I realized then that there was a story about a Cuban ‘godfather,’ so I began my research.”
Cuba’s own “padrino” (Spanish for “godfather”) – who got his start by organizing illegal games of chance – worked as a cop during the pre-Fidel Castro dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and mingled with American gangsters Santo Trafficante and Meyer Lansky in Havana.
During his exile in the United States, Battle enrolled in Brigade 2506, a CIA-sponsored group of Cuban exiles formed in 1960 which the next year landed on the island’s southern coast in what proved to be an ill-fated attempt to overthrow Castro.
Exilium – the production company owned by Freixas and partner Tony Gonzalez – is the creative force behind “The Corporation,” which Paramount Pictures landed in a rough bidding war, with Del Toro set to star and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way set to produce.
“It was not easy to get Benicio (del Toro) either,” Freixas said. “I had to crash a private party in Los Angeles to propose the role to him, even though I did not know him. Luckily, he loved it.”