EXCLUSIVE: Branko Lustig and Daniela Cretu have launched a new film production company. First Born Films gets off the ground with The Godmother, the true story of Griselda Blanco, who is also known as “The Godmother of Cocaine” and “Black Widow,” who became the first and only woman in history to head a major Colombian drug network. Lustig and Cretu have made a life rights deal with Blanco and her family, and also her youngest son Michael Corleone (named from The Godfather character) for a film that chronicles the rise and fall of the woman who became the wealthiest, deadliest, most notorious and most wanted drug lord in the world. Her exploits were chronicled in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys 2.
Frank Baldwin is writing the script, and Goodfellas author Nicholas Pileggi will produce with Lustig and Cretu. They are aiming for a fall start and are currently scouting shooting locations and will be traveling to Colombia, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Miami, Florida this month to evaluate shooting options.
Lustig has won two Best Picture Oscars, for Gladiator and Schindler’s List. As for Blanco, she came to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, fueling the Miami drug wars to bolster her position as the only woman to ever make it to the top echelon of drug cartel society. Blanco grossed millions of dollars a month amidst fierce competition as cocaine replaced marijuana as the country’s drug of choice. She built the city of Miami with drugs, blood and money. Some of it she herself spilled, and had assassins execute many of her rivals. Blanco was eventually arrested and convicted in 1986 in Los Angeles. Sentenced to execution, she ended up serving 18 years in prison before she was released in 2004 and deported back to Colombia. While just about every drug kingpin of that era is dead or behind bars, she lives freely in Colombia.
First Born Films will be based in LA, developing higher budgeted independent films meant for a broad audience.