Sofia Vergara to Star in ‘Griselda’ Limited Series at Netflix From ‘Narcos’ Team
Sofia Vergara is readying to play the Black Widow.
In her first role since wrapping Modern Family, Vergara will be making a dramatic turn to play Griselda Blanco, the Colombian drug lord widely known as the “Black Widow,” for a six-episode limited series at Netflix titled Griselda. Vergara will also executive produce.
Griselda is the latest series from writer and executive producer Eric Newman under his overall deal at the streaming giant. Newman, who served as showrunner for five seasons of Narcos and Narcos: Mexico, remains an executive producer on the forthcoming third season of Narcos: Mexico. Doug Miro, Andrés Baiz and Carlo Bernard, who are all apart of the Narcos creative team, will executive produce alongside Luis Balaguer; Baiz, a Colombian native, will direct all six episodes. Ingrid Escajeda (Justified, Empire) serves as showrunner.
Despite having the Narcos team attached, Netflix stresses that the series is not a spinoff from its popular drug cartel drama series. (Any connection to the Narcos franchise would likely have elevated the costs of making Griselda.) The Colombian-born Vergara and Balaguer had been developing the project for eight years at their Latin World Entertainment banner before bringing it to Netflix. “Griselda Blanco was a larger-than-life character whose ruthless but ingenious tactics allowed her to rule a billion-dollar empire years before many of the most notorious male kingpins we know so much about,” says Vergara. “We are thrilled to have found the perfect partners in Eric, Andrés and Netflix to help us bring this story of her life to the screen.”
Newman adds, “Griselda Blanco has long been a passion project for Sofia and we are grateful that she and her partners at LatinWe have chosen us to help her tell that story. Sofia is a brilliant talent and her passion combined with a fantastic story from Doug and Ingrid, and the amazing Andrés Baiz at the directing helm, means we have a very exciting series to share with audiences.”
Despite her proximity to Pablo Escobar and the Medellín cartel, Griselda was never a featured character on Narcos. The female narco — who went by the names the Black Widow, La Madrina and the Cocaine Godmother — was one of the most powerful cocaine traffickers in the 1980s and a key figure in Miami’s drug trade wars. Her story has previously been told on the screen, including in the 2017 film Cocaine Godmother where she was portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Jennifer Lopez is also developing a Griselda Blanco project with STX Films called The Godmother.
The logline from Netflix reads: “Griselda chronicles the real-life of savvy and ambitious Colombian business woman, Griselda Blanco, who created one of the most profitable cartels in history. A devoted mother, Blanco’s lethal blend of charm and unsuspecting savagery helped her expertly navigate between family and business leading her to become widely known as the Black Widow.”
Newman originated and brought the Narcos franchise to Netflix in 2014. In addition to being EP on the final season of Narcos: Mexico, which releases this week, his TV slate at the streamer includes the upcoming limited series True Story, starring and executive produced by Kevin Hart, the opioid TV drama Painkiller and The Watcher with Ryan Murphy. On the film side, he is in production on his third Netflix film, Escape From Spiderhead; and in pre-production on Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon and a sequel to Bright. Also in the works is The Upper World starring Daniel Kaluuya.
“Eric Newman has deftly brought to life among the most dynamic characters and stories on screen today. We’re excited to continue on this creative path with him and for this collaboration with Sofia Vergara — a force in entertainment and a world-beloved talent. With an incredible team at the helm — we can’t wait for the world to see how Ingrid Escajeda, Doug Miro, and Andrés Baiz take on the twists and turns of Griselda Blanco’s epic story,” says Peter Friedlander, vp of scripted series at Netflix.
Vergara, who recently ended her run on the five-time Emmy Award-winning ABC comedy Modern Family, also recently wrapped her second season as a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Her film credits include Bottom of the 9th, opposite partner Joe Manganiello, New Year’s Eve, Four Brothers, Chef, Big Trouble and Hot Pursuit, the latter on which Vergara also served as a producer.