Mexican director Gonzalez Inarritu defends Penn for 'Chapo' interview

MEXICO CITY: Oscar-winning Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has stood by US actor Sean Penn for his interview with drug lord Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, saying in an article published on Sunday that Penn wrote a "fantastic" story.

Speaking with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Gonzalez Inarritu said that the news value of Penn's interview with Guzman was limited, but said the star had every right to go looking for the kingpin, delivering a great story on his quest to find him.

"I understand Sean Penn," the director was quoted as saying. "He has every right to look for El Chapo."

Guzman, the legendary boss of the Sinaloa drugs cartel, was arrested earlier this month in northwest Mexico. He had been on the run for six months after he broke out of a high-security jail through a tunnel that led right into his cell.

Mexico's Attorney General, Arely Gomez, has since said Penn's meeting with Guzman in October last year was "essential" in leading to the arrest of the fugitive drug lord.

Gonzalez Inarritu won the Oscar for Best Director last year for his movie "Birdman." He was nominated again this year for his new movie, "The Revenant," starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

"The Revenant" won three Golden Globes last week, and is one of the favorites at this year's Oscars, with 12 nominations