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23 "Griselda" Behind-The-Scenes Facts That Show How Much Went Into This Limited Series

🚨 There are big spoilers for Griselda ahead! 🚨

1.First, Sofía Vergara originally connected with director Andrés Baiz and showrunner Eric Newman about portraying Griselda Blanco way back in 2012 when they were working on Narcos. Andrés, who is also Colombian, said he was initially "nervous" because, "Sofía is a national treasure in Colombia, and then suddenly she's taking this very brave stance. This big leap in her career to do something dramatic."

Behind-the-scenes of "Griselda"

Eric added, "I believe anything she sets her mind to doing, she will do." Not only does Sofía star in the series, and is in practically every scene, but she's also an executive producer.

Elizabeth Morris / Netflix

2.Then, in 2015, Sofía invited showrunner Eric Newman to her home in Los Angeles to pitch the series. After watching the documentary Cocaine Cowboys in 2006, Sofía said she realized that Griselda had "so many layers," and she loved the idea of showcasing "this innocuous-looking woman [who] was raising four kids while building this insane, brutal empire."

Behind the scenes of "Griselda"

3.Speaking about portraying the drug trafficking trade in the US and Colombia during the 1970s through the 1990s, Sofía said she had a first-hand experience seeing it unfold while growing up in Colombia. She explained, "My brother was killed during that time. My brother was part of that business. I know what it feels like. I know what that world is."

Screenshot from "Griselda"

4.Filming the series was "challenging" for Sofía for a number of reasons, specifically she said, "I had never acted in Spanish or a drama or with prosthetics." She also added that it was "exhausting" staying in "the mood that Griselda was in" during the length of filming.

Screenshots from "Griselda"

5.From the initial pitch meeting, Sofía knew she wanted to have this story told in half English and half Spanish, which gave her the opportunity to act in Spanish for the first time. She said her real-life accent has made it "hard" to find characters to portray, so this was the perfect time to lean into it.

Screenshot from "Griselda"

She explained in an interview with the New York Times, "It's hard for me to find characters because of my accent, and because I'm known for comedy. So in a selfish way I was like, 'Oh, this is perfect for me.'"

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6.In order to transform Sofía into Griselda Blanco, it took "three hours" to apply the prosthetics in the morning before filming. Then, it took an additional hour at the end of the day to remove everything. The idea was to make Sofía look different enough from herself IRL, but not hide her performance under a ton of prosthetics and makeup.

Sofía Vergara in hair and makeup

7.In the end, the prosthetics used on Sofía to turn her into Griselda included a fake nose, false teeth, and covering her eyebrows. "My eyebrows are very thick, and I wanted me to disappear, and I think that is one of my features that is very strong," she explained.

A makeup artist working on Sofía Vergara

8.After playing Gloria on Modern Family for 11 seasons, Sofía wanted to make sure Griselda was completely different. So, she learned how to walk differently because she didn't "want to walk [like herself] or Gloria." She added, "I created this body position that after three months got me in trouble. I had to get injected in my lower back from walking in this bad position."

Screenshot from "Griselda"

She added, "I thought that the character needed me to change my body. Needed me to use Spanx to try and hold my butt and my boobs, and kind of shape my body different than me and Gloria Pritchett."

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9.Sofía, who had never smoked a cigarette in real life, had to learn how to "hold it, turn it on, [and] get it out of the box," especially because in almost every scene Griselda is shown smoking. The cigarettes used in the show don't contain tobacco, but Sofía added that she smoked the fake ones "for six months straight nonstop."

Screenshots from "Griselda"

She explained that director Andrés Baiz is the one who had to teach her. She told Netflix's Tudum, "Andi was the one who taught me. He came to my house. He taught me how to smoke. He taught me how to do the [fake] cocaine."

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10.Griselda was filmed entirely in Los Angeles with the creative team transforming LA into '70s and '80s Miami. According to showrunner Eric Newman, the reason they filmed in LA was because it was easier to recreate retro Miami there. He explained, "When we couldn’t go to Miami, because Miami looks nothing like pre-cocaine explosion Miami, where our story is set."

Screenshots from "Griselda"

The director of photography for Griselda, Armando Salas, was raised in Miami, so he used his expertise to help make sure the series felt like Miami, all the way down to getting the correct coloring for the sky.

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11.The title cards for each episode appear whenever we see the first closeup of Griselda in the episode. Director Andrés Baiz explained they decided to have this "unifying formal element" in each episode because, "Every time I closed my eyes and I thought about Griselda, I saw a closeup. I saw Sofía Vergara in Griselda. This is a character-driven show. It's a very intimate piece."

Screenshots from "Griselda"

Andrés and Sofía agreed that one of their favorite title cards is in Episode 6 when "Griselda is smoking crack and she pulls her head back." They also loved the one in Episode 4 with Griselda in the car wash.

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12.The show was original titled Emerald, which was meant to be a reference to Griselda fleeing Colombia with her children, cocaine, and some jewels seen in the show. Due to the original title, a lot of "meticulous back-and-forth discussions" went into designing Griselda's emerald earrings and the necklaces she gives her sons in the series finale.

Behind the scenes of shooting "Griselda"

Looking at Griselda's jewelry throughout the show, you'll notice they aren't "dainty or delicate" pieces, but rather a lot of statement pieces, which were prominent in 1980s fashion.

Elizabeth Morris / Netflix

13.One of the things Sofía really wanted to do with Griselda was showcase Latin American talent. She explained, "I never thought I was going to be able to [work with them] because I rarely work in Latin America. To be able to bring them and for them to be part of this huge production for Netflix for me was amazing."

Behind the scenes of shooting "Griselda"

Sofía added, "I hope this is going to open so many doors for all of these actors that maybe they haven't gotten the opportunity to come to the United States and to be in big, big productions like this one."

Elizabeth Morris / Netflix

14.The most "nerve-racking" scene for Sofía to film in Griselda was when Griselda shoots and kills one of Papo's men in Episode 4. She said she was "horrified" having to kill someone on screen, but knew it was important to showcase Griselda's transformation into a "ruthless monster."

Screenshots from "Griselda"

15.It took "five days" to film the entire party sequence in Episode 5 due to the amount of extras and "technical aspects" that went into filming scenes where characters had to move "through the whole party."

Screenshots from "Griselda"

16.The real June Hawkins was a consultant on the series, and chatted extensively with Juliana Aidén Martinez, who portrays her in Griselda. In real life, Juliana was born and raised in the largely Cuban area of Hialeah in Miami-Dade County, so she connected with June over their shared upbringing.

Speaking about her conversations with June, Juliana said,

Speaking about her conversations with June, Juliana said, "She’s navigating being the first female homicide detective in this world of men. She’s also Cuban American, and she understands the cultural authenticity and the cultural factors that are happening in these conversations with the witnesses."

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17.Sofía came up with the subtle nervous habit Griselda has throughout the show. If you watch closely, anytime "Griselda feels nervous or uneasy, she starts playing with one of her rings on her right hand. It means that her head is spinning," according to Sofía.

Closeup shots of Sofía's hand in "Griselda"

18.Crown Liquors, which is the location for the famous Dadeland Mall Massacre where German Jimenez Panesso and his bodyguard were notably killed, was recreated in a Sears in Cerritos, California. The production design team referenced footage from the original newscast to match the exterior, the van Griselda's men pulled up in, the guns, and more.

Screenshots from "Griselda"

19.In order to get the costumes as authentic to the real time period in Miami, the costume team studied documentaries, old newspapers, vintage catalogues, and more. They also took inspiration from photographers Guy Bourdin and Larry Sultan, and films like Scarface and The Godfather.

Screenshots from "Griselda"

For June Hawkins's wardrobe, Juliana Aidén Martinez, who spoke with the real June, provided real photos of June at her wardrobe fittings so they could find similar outfits for the series.

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20.In terms of where Griselda's wardrobe came from, a lot of it was "custom-made based on vintage items," according to costume designer Sarah Evelyn. There were a ton of custom dresses, especially in the beginning, mostly due to how much Griselda is going through.

Screenshots from "Griselda"

There's a clear shift in Griselda's wardrobe in Episode 5, when she's now running things at the Mutiny nightclub, with costume supervisor and designer Safowa Bright Bitzelberger explaining, "Instead of her going there to talk to the king, she is the queen now."

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21.In order to prepare for the more emotionally intense scenes between Griselda and Dario, Alberto Guerra explained that he and Sofía would sometimes deliberately spend time apart on set before filming. Director Andrés Baiz even told them, "Don't talk to each other. I don't want you guys to talk to each other before this argument."

Screenshots from "Griselda"

Alberto explained to Men's Health, "There were some really intense things that we needed to find different ways to do it, to find different words. So we would rehearse them. Some other scenes were equally intense where we’d go, 'I'll be in my trailer, you be in your trailer.'"

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22.Griselda marks the acting debut for musician Karol G, who stars as Carla. To prepare for the role, Karol said she spent months in acting and body movement classes in order to hone her acting skills for the role.

She told Billboard that the classes

She told Billboard that the classes "totally opened my eyes to a different perspective. They’ve helped my career as an artist and my development onstage."

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23.And finally, Paulina Dávila, who plays Isabel, one of the women who smuggles cocaine from Colombia to the US for Griselda and begins working for her in Miami, is actually Sofía's cousin in real life. Apparently, Sofía and Paulina hadn't seen each other "in 20 years" prior to the filming of the show.

Screenshot from "Griselda"

"So the last time I saw her, she was 10. And it was heartwarming for me," Sofía said. The Griselda team had no clue Sofía and Paulina knew each other when they were casting the show, Andrés Baiz had never worked with Paulina before but was friends with her and thought she'd be perfect for the role.

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