🚨 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."
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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