Catherine Zeta-Jones is the ‘Cocaine Godmother’ on Lifetime

Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones in ‘Cocaine Godmother’ on Lifetime

Others might be surprised that Catherine Zeta-Jones is headlining a Lifetime movie, but she’s not.

The “Chicago” Oscar winner and “A Little Night Music” Tony winner credits the female-centric cable network with letting her make the true drama “Cocaine Godmother” – premiering Saturday, Jan. 20 – the way she wanted to, after she’d nurtured the material for several years. Quite gritty by usual Lifetime standards, the movie casts her as Griselda Blanco, a mother of three who took to the drug trade quickly … then became a major, murderous Miami cocaine smuggler using unlikely “mules” to transport her wares, and gaining notoriety as “The Black Widow.”

“I’ve been in and out of trying to get a production made of this,” the charming Zeta-Jones confirms, “and it came down to Lifetime opening its doors to me and promising me that they would show it in the light in which I wanted to do it. This woman had no redeeming qualities. As an actor, one always want to find something within oneself that’s similar to the character, or something you can play on. This was not that. She was morally so far-removed from what I believe in, but of course, you just revel in the desire of wanting to play her.”

The wife of Michael Douglas – with whom she shares a birthday (Sept. 25) – Zeta-Jones allows that making “Cocaine Godmother” was “like an exorcism for me in the end. It was hard for me to let go, but the whole process reminded me why I wanted to be in this crazy business. It instilled in me the love of character work, to get under the skin of a multilayered character. It’s hard to find those roles, but it’s so rewarding to go there.”

Zeta-Jones was happy to have another Oscar winner, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro (known for “Pan’s Labyrinth”), as the director of “Cocaine Godmother.” She has her own aspirations of directing, noting that she “would probably like to do that on TV, maybe even with Lifetime. They’ve been amazing in welcoming me into that family, so that‘s something that I’m working on, to find the right piece of material to direct.”

Catherine Zeta-Jones


Birthdate: Sept. 25, 1969

Birthplace: Swansea, Wales

Current residence: New York State

Marital status: Married to actor-producer Michael Douglas; they have a son and a daughter together

Other television work includes: “Feud: Bette and Joan,” “Titanic,” “Catherine the Great,” “The Return of the Native,” “The Cinder Path,” “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,” “The Darling Buds of May,” “The Play on One”

Movie work includes: “Dad’s Army,” “Red 2,” “Side Effects,” “Broken City,” “Playing for Keeps,” “Rock of Ages,” “Lay the Favorite,” “The Rebound,” “Death Defying Acts,” “No Reservations,” “The Legend of Zorro,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” “The Terminal,” “Intolerable Cruelty,” “Chicago,” “America’s Sweethearts,” “Traffic,” ”High Fidelity,” “The Haunting” (1999), “Entrapment,” “The Mask of Zorro,” “The Phantom,” “Splitting Heirs,” “Christopher Columbus: The Discovery”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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