Catherine Zeta-Jones, who once played a drug lord’s wife in Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, is returning to the drug trade with the leading role in The Godmother, a movie about the life of criminal kingpin (queenpin?) Griselda Blanco.
Blanco’s life was so flashy and terrifying that it’s a small miracle no one’s thought to make a biopic about her until now. Born in the slums of Cartagena, Colombia, she reportedly committed her first murder at age 11, after a kidnapping went south. She killed not one, but two of her husbands, earning her the nickname “La Madrina,” or “Black Widow.” After drug conspiracy charges chased her away from her New York operation in 1975, she set up shop in Miami, where her violent reputation helped her build a cocaine empire that brought in $80 million per month at its height. She had a son named Michael Corleone, a German Shepherd named Hitler, and is thought to have ordered at least 250 killings before her death by drive-by shooting in 2012 after having been deported back to Columbia. It’s the kind of material a director would have a hard time making dull if she tried.
Hopefully not up to that challenge is director Eva Sørhaug, who previously helmed Norwegian dramas 90 Minutes and Cold Lunch. Presumably, the film will also reveal why Blanco was given the nickname “The Godmother.” It might have something to do with a popular film that came out shortly before her rise to power, but maybe she just attended a lot of christenings. We’ll have to wait for the movie to be sure.