Mexican actress Kate del Castillo said she didn't intend to be flirtatious with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman while trying to arrange a film project, and said leaked messages are misleading when taken out of context.
Del Castillo made the comments to ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an interview that's set to air on 20/20 Friday, in her first televised interview since Guzman was recaptured in January, nearly six months after he used a tunnel to escape from prison.
"I was being nice because I wanted to get the story — you know, access to the story," del Castillo said. "I was being amicable."
Del Castillo and actor Sean Penn met with Guzman in secret in October while Guzman was still a wanted man. Del Castillo wanted to make a movie about Guzman's life; Penn would later write a 10,500-word article about the meeting and Guzman for Rolling Stone.
Del Castillo was contacted by Guzman's lawyers before the drug lord escaped from prison. He said he admired the actress — who played a drug lord in a Mexican television show — and wanted to give her the rights to his life story so that she could make a movie out of them.
Guzman began to make arrangements to meet with the actress and some of the messages they sent while setting up that meeting have been leaked.
"I will care for you more than I do for my own eyes," said one message from Guzman to del Castillo.
"I am so moved that you say you will take care of me, no one has ever taken care of me, thank you! I am free next weekend," del Castillo responded.
Del Castillo told Sawyer that Guzman was simply comforting her fears about the upcoming trip to meet with him while he was on the run from Mexican authorities.
"He's not being even romantic. I just think he likes me," she told Sawyer.
Del Castillo said Guzman probably was equally enamored with the character she played on television as he was with her.
Del Castillo said she didn't intend to be flirtatious with Guzman on her side of the correspondence.
Guzman was recaptured by Mexican authorities in January. Del Castillo, Penn and two producers met with Guzman in October, according to Penn's article in Rolling Stone.
Del Castillo told the New Yorker in an article that was published last week that she still intends on completing the project based on Guzman's life story.