In Lifetime’s Cocaine Godmother, Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the drug queenpin Griselda Blanco, one of the original “Cocaine Cowboys” who pioneered the drug trade between Colombia and the US in the 1970s and ’80s. Blanco wasn’t exactly a stellar role model for good, but as the Academy Award-winning actress told moderator Pete Hammond at Contenders, she “relished” playing the layered character of Blanco.
“This character is the polar opposite of what I believe in morally and how I would want to live one’s life,” said Zeta-Jones. “There’s something fascinating about her when you think of her as a woman in that workplace.”
She goes on to say that she was amazed by how Blanco sustained her career at her peak. “I just loved playing her,” she said.
Even so, Zeta-Jones recognizes that Blanco was a woman with no redeemable qualities. She said she had no sympathy for her, but as bad as she was, Zeta-Jones admits that she admired her tenacity as a woman for holding her own in the notorious drug world dominated by men.
Zeta-Jones’ and her husband/actor Michael Douglas don’t normally bring their work home with them. But when she was about to go shoot Cocaine Godmother, Douglas said, “Let me give you one note — just remember you are at your most terrifying when you do nothing.”
Confused at first, she said “Okay.” But after thinking about it, she admits that Blanco would have also been at her most powerful when she said nothing.