ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The heavy hitters are rolling in – and New Mexico is going to benefit.
Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro will be in the Land of Enchantment to film their latest movie, “Sicario,” a gritty thriller about tracking down Mexican drug dealers.
The film, budgeted at $30 million-plus, is being housed at Albuquerque Studios and is being produced by Black Label Media, Thunder Road Pictures and distributed by Lionsgate.
Nick Maniatis, director of N.M. Film Office, said it’s always good to get big productions into the state.
“We’ve announced quite a few shows in the last week, but in terms of size, ‘Sicario’ is the largest,” he said. “When it comes to star power, it doesn’t get bigger than Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt.”
The film is the story of a by-the-book female FBI agent, Kate Macy, played by Blunt, who is assigned to work with two Delta-force operators to take down a Mexican cartel boss. But when they cross the border to Mexico, she discovers things are a lot more depraved than she had expected.
The corruption and violence she witnesses challenge her morality, forcing her to play by a different set of rules.
“The locations in New Mexico are everything I imagined when I read the script of ‘Sicario,’ ” said director Denis Villeneuve.
Villeneuve has directed “Prisoners,” “Enemy” and “Incendies.”
According to the New Mexico Film Office, the production will shoot in Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Corrales, Laguna Pueblo, Bernalillo County and Sandoval County at the end of June through the end of August.
Maniatis said the film office has enjoyed working with the production staff.
“They are at the top of their game and it makes our job easy,” Maniatis said.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry said the production represents jobs for hundreds of New Mexicans and will benefit local film-friendly businesses.
The production will employ about 200 New Mexico crew members as well as more than 2,000 resident actors and background talent, the film office said.
Del Toro has been seen in films such as “Traffic,” and “Snatch.” Blunt has been in “Looper” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” while Brolin was in “No Country for Old Men.”
Last week, the state film office announced that two movies – “Johnny,” a movie about boxer Johnny Tapia, and “In a Valley of Violence,” starring John Travolta and Ethan Hawke – would start filming here.