Kate del Castillo ended two months of silence about her and Sean Penn's controversial meeting with then-fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, saying Penn's account of an encounter with a Mexican military checkpoint never happened.
In his January Rolling Stone piece, Penn wrote that while travelling to meet Guzman they came across a checkpoint and were allowed to continue when soldiers recognised one of the cartel capo's sons, who was traveling with the actors.
According to del Castillo, "they didn't go through any military checkpoint, much less one where government soldiers waved them on," The New Yorker reported.
It added that two Argentine film producers who were riding in another car also "have no recollection of encountering a military checkpoint."
“I stand by my piece," the actor told The Associated Press via email.
Del Castillo told the magazine the scene was not in an early draft that had been sent to and approved by Guzman, and it appeared only after a Rolling Stone editor asked Penn to add a more detailed description of their overland journey.
Guzman pulled off his second brazen escape from prison last July, fleeing a maximum-security lockup through a tunnel that accomplices dug to the shower of his cell. Penn's lengthy Rolling Stone piece was published a day after Guzman was recaptured on Jan. 8 by Mexican authorities and several months after his meeting with the actors in fall 2015.
Del Castillo had been contacted by Guzman's lawyer the previous year and entered into an agreement for her to make a movie about the convicted drug lord's life, and she had hoped to bring Penn on board with the project. She maintains she had no idea a magazine article was in the works.
She told The New Yorker she was unaware that Penn was bearing a letter of assignment from Rolling Stone when they met with "El Chapo," and she felt blindsided when he announced to Guzman that he intended to write an article. Penn has insisted he told her beforehand, but she dismissed that as "total and complete (bull)."
"This was not how I was expecting the night to be," she was quoted as saying. "But at the moment I thought, Maybe we can base the movie on this article."
Mexican authorities are probing possible money-laundering involving Guzman and del Castillo's tequila business and have sought to question the actress, while saying she is considered a witness and has not been charged with any crime.