Advertisement
Drugs

'American Made' Brings Real-Life Drug Smuggler Barry Seal to the Big Screen

Watch a trailer for the upcoming biopic, starring Tom Cruise as the commercial pilot turned drug runner.

by VICE Staff
Jun 5 2017, 7:03pm

Barry Seal's life story as a drug runner turned double agent seems basically tailor-made for Hollywood. From his start smuggling pounds of weed and coke into the US for Pablo Escobar, to his bust and subsequent role as a pivotal DEA informant, to his death at the hands of a Colombian assassin—the true story nails all the basic blockbuster beats.

Seal started out as a commercial pilot in the early 80s, but was fired from Trans World Airlines after he was arrested for sneaking plastic explosives into Mexico, then went full-time smuggler. He fell in with the Medellín cartel and started working for Escobar and the Ochoa brothers, then eventually signed on as an undercover informant with the DEA to avoid prison. The whole thing caught up to him in the end, when the Medellín cartel ordered a hit on Seal in 1986 to keep him from aiding the extradition of cartel leader Jorge Ochoa.

His whole story is spelled out in the 2016 book Smuggler's End, but (save for a mediocre made-for-cable movie starring Dennis Hopper) Seal's story has never hit the big screen—until now. This September, Tom Cruise will take on the role of Seal in Doug Liman's upcoming movie, American Made.

Liman and Cruise have a long history of working together—their last collaboration was the brutally under-appreciated Live Die Repeat (or Edge of Tomorrow, if you were one of the ten people to see it in theaters). From the look of the trailer, American Made focuses primarily on Seal's time working undercover, and co-stars Domhnall Gleeson as the CIA agent who flips him.

You can check out the trailer above before American Made opens in theaters September 29.