'Narcos' Pêpê Rapazote Reveals Season 3 Spoilers, Talks Violent Character [INTERVIEW]

Pepe Rapazote
Pêpê Rapazote talks about the new heart-racing Season 3 of Narcos and his role. Photo: Rui Carlos Mateus

Versatile actor and scene stealer, Pêpê Rapazote, portrays the most notorious Latin drug kingpin in New York, "José 'Chepe' Santacruz Londoño," in the highly anticipated return of Netflix's "Narcos," premiering on September 1st. Thanks to the NYC branch of the Cali Cartel, led by Chepe, the DEA agent, Javier Peña has his work cut out for him.

Coming off of the explosive end of season 2, the show will focus on the Cali Cartel, the "most powerful crime syndicate in history," as quoted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and who at the height of the cartel, controlled over 90% of the world's cocaine market. 

Latin Times spoke with the actor about season three and his role as one of the most colorful drug cartel leaders in history. After Colombia banned a main ingredient to refine cocaine, Chepe had to move to the big city to keep his operation alive. “While in New York, Chepe was refining and producing cocaine around the corner for New Yorkers to consume,” says Rapazote about his character. “He was the most successful narco ever to live in the U.S. Supposedly he pretended to be a real state developer, and he had different alias.”

The actor also said that his character was very violent not because it was something personal, but it was business. “He had to kill in a ferocious business to protect his territory,” he says. Rapazote also relates to him. Though “Chepe” was a very aggressive kingpin, ironically, his personality was very calmed and he was always making jokes. “He was really fun to be around,” the actor, who also happens to be fluent in five different languages including Spanish, said to Latin Times.

“He [Chepe] wasn’t about luxuries, he was a very simple guy, he wouldn’t dress fancy just like the others,” he added. “He will bring to the season some relaxation, some amusement, laughter,” assures Rapazote. According to the actor, nothing worries his character because in his mind “everything has a solution, everything will be taken care of.”

The very handsome star said this upcoming season would be very explosive and graphic. Every scene, every violent death was detail-oriented, because to drug dealers “a bullet in the head is not a fun thing to do anymore.”  “Cali Cartel was extremely intelligent,” says Rapazote. “They did everything like if it was a movie. It was so incredible that they easily could win an Oscar.”

Pêpê had to carefully prepare for his role; to take care of every single detail, the star had to say goodbye to his perfect toned abs and gain some weight to look more like the character he was portraying. 

American audiences may also recognize the Portugal born Pêpê from his work on "Shameless" and "Blood Ties." Growing up, he was always curious, diving into various art fields and almost studied physics and engineering before he pursued architecture, a happy medium to practice multiple art forms. Soon he discovered a passion for acting, and got nominated for a Golden Globe award in Portugal for his role in JURA, and a Golden Nymph award for the Monte-Carlo TV Festival for his role in "Pai à Força," all before making his way to LA in 2010 where he continued to book highbrow jobs including JimmySteve's father-in-law in Showtime's "Shameless." 

When Pêpê isn't portraying a drug lord with a smile, he spends his time with family in Portugal, stays fit with biking by the beach, and continues to practice his love for art with his own unique coffee paintings.

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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.