“Narcos,” the sleeper Netflix hit series about the rise and fall of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, finally returns Friday for Season 2 — which is all about the drug kingpin’s demise.
Boyd Holbrook, 34, previously known for “Milk” and “Gone Girl,” not only stars in the show as DEA Agent Steve Murphy — who along with his partner, Agent Javier Pena (played by Pedro Pascal), led the manhunt for Escobar in the ’80s and ’90s — but also provides its narration, in a voice-over many have compared to Ray Liotta’s in “Goodfellas.”
“There’s so much interaction on the show where you have to read, unless you’re bilingual. And then there’s the history, the action,” explains Holbrook about his approach to narrating. “There’s all these dynamics going on, so I wanted to enable people to get into a kind of trance with the show, and take them into the show that way.”
Before the premiere, we spoke with the Kentucky native about what we can expect from the next 10 episodes, which are out on Netflix this Friday at midnight.
Tell us about the preparation and training that went into playing DEA agent Steve Murphy.
I didn’t do any physical training, but we did get to go to Quantico for a week, Pedro and I. Javier and Steve got us in to train with the DEA. For me that was really eye-opening, you know, running into houses with rubber bullets and flying at each other. It was pretty intensive, you really get to see what it’s like in their situation.
What are some of your favorite films/shows about 'cops and robbers'—guys on both sides of the law?
I don’t think there’s a show that’s ever been better than “Breaking Bad,” in terms of that sort of genre.
Is your Spanish better than Murphy’s?
The actual Murphy, no, but my Spanish is better than the Murphy I play on the show. Much better! Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Colombian girlfriend to help me out with my Spanish, but I was [in Colombia] pretty much for 18 months, so you have to learn a little bit, even though we’re working five days a week — I mean that’s my focus — but it’s natural to pick up some.
Your Instagram shows you posing in front of waterfalls, surfing, etc. Occupational hazard? What were some of your favorite places you visited while filming?
I tried to experience South America as much as possible. I was in Patagonia quite a bit, took a bunch of motorcycle trips, got my PADI license for scuba diving. I did all kinds of cool sh—.
Were you at all surprised at how popular the show has been? Have you seen Mindy Kaling’s Instagrams of you guys in the jungle?
I don’t know who Mindy Kaling is … I’ll figure out who that is. Yeah, I really had no idea the show would do as well as it has. The first year was really hard on us, it was difficult, how extreme of a location we were working at. I would say we were pioneering the film industry down in Colombia.
What can viewers expect from Season 2, now that Escobar’s demise is imminent?
It’s fascinating, it’s really interesting to already know the historical outcome of it all but to see how it actually happens — Pablo’s rise to king status, and then how it unravels.