In news that made us wonder whether it was 2016 all over again (when we first reported them) it looks like Jennifer Lopez’s Griselda Blanco biopic is finally back on track. Coming off the heels of her critically acclaimed performance as Ramona in Hustlers, it looks like JLo is diving right back into prestige filmmaking. After Second Act and Hustlers, Lopez is partnering again with STXfilms to produce The Godmother and is looking to book Reed Morano, the director best known for setting the tone for Hulu’s Emmy-winning drama The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Godmother follows the story of Griselda Blanco, one of the most infamous drug cartel figures to come out of Colombia. While she may not be as well-known as Pablo Escobar, Hollywood has slowly began to make her as much of a fixture of U.S. pop culture as that other Colombian-born drug kingpin. Most recently Catherine Zeta Jones portrayed Blanco in a Lifetime project titled after Blanco’s well-known moniker, Cocaine Godmother which was, whitewashing aside, barely able to muster the thrill of those other serialized narco dramas.
Born in Cartagena in 1943, Blanco moved with her mother to Medellín at a young age and quickly earned a reputation for kidnapping, petty theft and even murder before building her Cartel de Medellín-affiliated cocaine empire out of New York and Miami in the 1970s. With echoes of Queen of the South and Narcos, it’s no surprise to find her story is being shopped around for a big-screen adaptation though we wish such stories would start losing their luster given how limited a vision of Latin America (and Colombia, in particular) they create in the U.S. cultural imagination.
“I’ve been fascinated by the life of this corrupt and complicated woman for many years,” said Lopez back in 2016 when the project was first set up at HBO. That fascination has clearly not waned and, after the success of Hustlers and her Superbowl performance, it seems Lopez is finally getting this passion project off the ground. Her acrobatic and super sexy take on Ramona may not have been enough to land her an Oscar nomination but might a gritty transformative take on one of Colombia’s most well-known drug traffickers do the trick? We can’t wait to find out. In the meantime we’ll keep looking forward to her upcoming Maluma co-starring comedy Marry Me.