John Leguizamo spent $15,000 to snare Escobar role

Actor went into his own pocket for make-up to impress producers.

John Leguizamo wanted the role of Pablo Escobar in a forthcoming biopic about the drug kingpin so much that he spent $15,000 transforming himself to impress the film's producers.

According to Deadline, the 'Kick-Ass 2' and 'Carlito's Way' star was desperate for the job playing the notorious Colombian in 'King of Cocaine', to be directed by Brad Furman.

'Drive' actor Oscar Isaac was in line for the role, but after he dropped out, Leguizamo pounced on the chance to persuade the film's financiers he was the man for the job – despite them thinking he was not big enough a draw to play the lead.

He then spent $15,000 recruiting make-up artists to turn him into Escobar, and got director Furman, who he had worked with on the movie 'The Take' in 2007, to film a screen-test of his own.

He later posted Vine videos on his Twitter page showing his transformation.

One producer initially said no, but after his test was screened to two others next to actual footage of Escobar, and not revealing who the actor was, Leguizamo got the job.

Two other directors are currently planning biopics on Escobar, including Oliver Stone – using 'Escobar', the book written by his brother Roberto Escobar Gaviria – and 'Training Day' helmsman Antoine Fuqua. The latter is not yet thought to have a leading man in place.

And as if to complicate matters further, 'The Grey' director Joe Carnahan is planning 'Killing Pablo', about his manhunt with Javier Bardem in line for the lead, while Benicio Del Toro will also play him in 'Paradise Lost', about a US surfer who falls in love with Escobar's niece.

Escobar ran his international cocaine operation from the mid-70s, cashing in on the appetite for the drug in the US.

Real life... John Leguizamo when he's not made up as a Colombian drug baron (Credit: Getty images)

He even ascended to Colombian politics in the 80s, and was one of 227 billionaires in the world come 1989, according to Forbes.

He was killed following a lengthy manhunt in 1993.

'King of Cocaine', meanwhile, is set to start shooting in January.