Jennifer Lopez to Play Drug Lord Griselda Blanco in HBO TV Movie

The 'Shades of Blue' star also will executive produce the TV movie.
Ruven Afanador
Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez is headed for HBO.

The star of NBC's Shades of Blue is set to topline and executive produce an untitled TV movie revolving around late drug lord Griselda Blanco, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The film, which is in development, focuses on the rise and fall of Blanco, the notorious drug lord known as "The Cocaine Godmother" who revolutionized the U.S. drug trade during the 1970s and 1980s and became the most powerful female cartel member of all time. 

Lopez will star and executive produce via her Nuyorican Productions banner alongside company topper Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and the singer-actress' manager, Benny Medina, as well as LBI Entertainment's Julie and Rick Yorn. Alex Pettyfer will co-executive produce alongside Nuyorican's Priscilla Porianda and LBI's Patrick Walmsley; the actor is attached only as a co-executive producer and it's unclear if Pettyfer will have any onscreen role in the movie.

"I’ve been fascinated by the life of this corrupt and complicated woman for many years,” Lopez said Wednesday in a statement. “The idea of teaming with HBO felt like the perfect fit for finally bringing Griselda’s story to life.”

For Lopez, the HBO movie comes as production continues on season two of NBC drama Shades of Blue, which she also exec produces. The singer-actress has been making a major TV push of late, with Nuyorican also behind Freeform's critical darling The Fosters.

For HBO, the movie marks the premium cable network's latest star-driven take following its Emmy-nominated Anita Hill entry Confirmation with Kerry Washington and Bryan Cranston's All the Way.

The HBO project also arrives as USA Network has found success with its female-driven drug kingpin drama Queen of the South, which was partially inspired by Blanco's story.

Blanco was killed in Colombia in September 2012. She was the subject of documentary feature Cocaine Cowboys and allegedly gunned down her first two husbands. She is said to have trafficked 300 kilos of cocaine per month during the height of her operation and became a multimillionaire several times over during her 40s and reportedly ordered dozens of murders in order to keep her place at the top of Miami's gangster heap. Blanco was arrested in 1985 and sentenced to almost two decades in a U.S. prison before being deported and, by reported accounts, going on to live a quiet life in Colombia's second-largest city, Medellín, which has its own reputation as a favorite home base for drug kingpins and cartels. 

Lopez is repped by CAA, Medina and Hirsch Wallerstein.

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