Tom Cruise to kick off ‘Mena’ shoot in Colombia

Bogota, Aug 25 (IANS/EFE) Hollywood action star Tom Cruise kicks off the shoot of his new film “Mena” from Wednesday in Colombia, Universal Pictures announced.

Cruise, who landed in Medellin last Thursday and since then has avoided all contact with the press, will film for about nine days at several locations around Colombia, Universal said in a communique on Monday.

The “Mission Impossible” actor will play Barry Seal, a US pilot who worked for Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellin drug cartel, and who later became a snitch for the DEA, the US anti-drug agency.

Universal Pictures added that Cruise also plans an informal meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Cruise, who flew in on a private plane to Medellin’s Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport, met last Saturday with the city’s Mayor Anibal Gaviria to talk about the shoot and his visit to this Colombian city.

“Cruise is living in Medellin. He has gone to different restaurants and has spent time getting to know the people,” the local mayor said.

The production of “Mena” began in May of this year in Georgia and is directed by New Yorker Doug Liman, director of other action flicks like “The Bourne Identity”.

“I love stories of improbable heroes working against the system, and Barry Seal took the government, and our country, for an unbelievable ride,” said Liman, as cited in a statement.

Seal was also involved in the Iran-Contra scandal involving the illegal sale of US weapons to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan counter-revolution of the 1980s.

Liman said the story “has the makings for an entertaining film that is equal parts satire, suspense and comedy – and always surprising”.

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