Joe Carnahan’s no stranger to the twists and turns that a movie in development can take. But even being so intimate with the ups and downs of getting a movie made, Joe keeps up that infectious enthusiasm. Tonight I got an email from him, talking about the news that Javier Bardem has dropped out of Killing Pablo, his film about the infamous Colombian drug lord. He told me that this was old news, that Javier has been out for a while, and that he already has his new Pablo cast: Edgar Ramirez.

Ramirez, who played Paz in The Bourne Ultimatum, is poised to get a big bump from appearing in both films of Soderbergh’s Che duology, but Killing Pablo is going to be his big star turn for American audiences. Carnahan tells me Ramirez is raring to go.

Says Joe: “I spent the last week in Colombia with Edgar Ramirez talking ‘Pablo’ and he has every intention of portraying Escobar and I couldn’t be more fired up by the prospect. He’s coming at it with boundless enthusiasm, conviction to the role and and the understanding that he’s going to have to pack on anywhere from 35 to 40lbs.”

If Joe’s excited, I’m excited. The guy has an unerring eye for casting, and I’m excited to see his vision of this really amazing crime story. Here’s hoping that Ramirez is the final piece that gets this sucker rolling forward.