Telemundo’s (DStv 118) telenovela, Lord of The Skies (originally called El Señor de los Cielos), has a love-hate relationship with the shady business dealings of drug cartels in Mexico. The series’ central character is a powerful drug kingpin, but the drama focuses on the far-reaching impact of his actions, and the people helpless in the grasp of the drug trade. “It tells the story of how the life of one drug dealer, Amado Casillas “El Águila Azul” (Matías Novoa), influences everybody around him,” explains Carmen Aub, who plays Rutila Casillas, Amado’s daughter.

“My character tries her best to get out of this drug world, but she’s not able to. She always goes back to it. At some point in the telenovela, she has a son, Ismael (Iván Arana), with her dad’s worst enemy, El Súper Javi (Alejandro López), and this follows her like a shadow. She is just trying to survive, like all the other characters are trying to survive. So this is really a story of survival. She is just trying to learn how to live. She was forced to grow up in this world, and she’s basically trying to figure it out. So that makes her real, and that’s what I love,” says Carmen.

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I’m a Survivor

Carmen says that there is one thing viewers should remember about the telenovela: “Even though the lives of these characters looks very cool, it’s actually the opposite. They’re always trying to survive, they’re always running for their lives, they’re always trying to hide, and they lose so many important and meaningful people in their lives.”

Nonetheless, Carmen loves playing Rutila, a role she believes empowers women. “I think it’s something that could be a surprise, because even though she goes through so much and had bad relationships with her dad and her family – and a lot of women are in situations like those – the way that she can finally get out of those bad relationships and still be this strong woman and take care of her son is empowering. Rutila has to go on with her life without her mother, and I think that shows her strength. That can be a surprise, as it’s hard as a woman to survive in a world of men.”

A man’s world

Guy Ecker, who plays Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) commissioner Joe Navarro, explains that viewers should know that Lord of The Skies is not one of those sweeping, generational romances you expect when we hear the word telenovela. “It’s not a melodrama. This is a rough, shoot ’em up, action-packed drama,” insists Guy.

Lord of The Skies is all about the struggle between good and evil, both inside and outside the drug trade. “It humanises the drug trade, and gives us a look into what money and power can do to people. The corruption goes all the way to the president of the country,” he adds.

The story

The series is based on the real life and work of drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the former leader of the Juarez Cartel who was described as the most powerful drug trafficker of his time. He died in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery to change his appearance. His storyline is played by Rafael Amaya, whose character Aurelio Casillas, a drug kingpin, also underwent plastic surgery to change his appearance at the end of S1 (in 2018). He was shot at the end of S6 (in June 2020) and ended up in hospital.

If you’ve missed the start of S7 on 21 September 2020, the new season kicked off with the Casillas family fighting to bring back Aurelio from his coma before his enemies could get to him, while they also launched a daring rescue operation to free Aurelio’s half-brother, Amado Casillas (Matías Novoa) – not to be confused with Amado Fuentes, a former CIA agent who surrendered to the authorities to avoid being judged by the Mexican legal system, and has since been extradited to the United States.

On the hunt

Joe Navarro proves to be a thorn in the side of the Casillas family – and the man responsible for Amado’s extradition. “He is assigned to go to Mexico to bring down the Lord of The Skies, Aurelio Casillas. But I would say his biggest nemesis is the system. He is constantly frustrated in his efforts due to the political and legal constraints,” says Guy. “He represents the differences that exist between the USA and Mexico on every level. As commissioner, he has to deal with the USA’s legal and political pressure, and try to deal with the drug cartel wars. But he embodies many of the cultural differences that exist between the two countries.”

If there is one thing that Guy enjoyed in the telenovela above all, it’s the stunts. “I love to do action takes. Fighting, firing weapons, crashing cars, and blowing up things is a blast.” He adds that the producers did interesting work with his character, “Both visually and in terms of history. I grew a beard, and we coloured my hair and beard grey. I’ve never done a character that looks like this. The personal struggles my character is dealing with are also important for the character.”

Watch Lord of The Skies S7 weekdays on Telemundo (DStv 118) at 23:00 or on Catch Up

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