For Catherine Zeta-Jones, playing a Colombian drug kingpin in Lifetime movie Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story was transformative both physically and spiritually.
Describing her pursuit of the role as an “obsession” at TCA on Sunday, Zeta-Jones said she’d really tried to embody the famously brutal Blanco.
“It was so liberating,” she said. “I didn’t want to play a caricature of her, and do like a Mrs. Doubtfire’s fat suit. I wanted to play her from the inside out. Her attitude was much more than whether I didn’t wear mascara or lipstick.”
Digging into a role she’d wanted so badly and really cared about was inspiring. “For a few years there, I lost my mojo on what this is about. I love being a mother I love being a wife, I have a very nice career behind me,” she said. “I wasn’t seeing anything that would even come close to me feeling like that, and you kind of lose that spark. It’s made me remember why, when I was nine years old, I left home to go and do theater in London — that feeling of joy, and feeling that I’m home and this is what I love to do. I haven’t had that feeling in years.”
Her Colombian co-star Juan Pablo Espinosa who plays drug trafficker Alberto Bravo said he and his family had found Zeta-Jones’ portrayal of a Colombian woman to be very authentic.
“It takes a great actress and it takes somebody very committed to what they’re doing to pay homage to what had to be done,” he said. “It’s been such a joy to see her nail this in such an honest and wonderful way.”
Playing a sociopath was a challenge Zeta-Jones relished. “She had a power and a strength of character that of all the things that I do not relate to, I do relate to that,” she said. “I do admire that in her. It was, where are the cracks in her? I don’t want to make everyone like her. I don’t like her.”
Despite explaining that she herself is, of course, the “polar opposite” to the sociopathic Blanco, it seems Zeta-Jones isn’t having any issues getting into a scary mindset at home.
“My husband, who never gives me any notes at all, he was dropping me off at the airport and he said, ‘Just remember darling, you don’t have to do much, you are at your most terrifying when you do nothing.” I thought, after 17 years of marriage it’s good to know that I scare the bejeezus out of you when I do absolutely nothing.”
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