CATHERINE ZETA-JONES STARS IN THE LIFETIME PREMIERE DRAMA, "COCAINE GODMOTHER THE GRISELDA BLANCO STORY" JAN. 20 AT 8 PM (ET/PT).
Compiled By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Lifetime is kicking off 2018 with a trio of feature movies based on the true stories of three women who have made lasting impressions in our world.
On Jan. 20 at 8 pm (ET/PT) “Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story" airs. The movie stars Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones in the true story of the most infamous woman in the drug world who fiercely and ruthlessly ran the cocaine trade in America.
The following week on Jan. 27 at 8 pm (ET/PT), Grammy winner Toni Braxton stars in “Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story,” the true story of a heroic bookkeeper who saved the lives of hundreds by preventing a school shooting.
Lifetime goes for the gold Feb. 3 at 8 pm (ET/PT) with the biopic “The Simone Biles Story” which tells the inspiring true story of the most decorated gymnast in the world starring Tisha Campbell-Martin, Julius Tennon and introducing Jeanté Godlock as Biles.
“Faith Under Fire” and “The Simone Biles Story” will also simulcast on Lifetime and Lifetime Movies.
ABOUT “COCAINE GODMOTHER” THE GRISELDA BLANCO STORY”-- Premieres Jan. 20 at 8 pm (ET/PT).
Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in “Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story,” a Lifetime feature based on the life of drug lord Griselda Blanco, a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine trade. At the age of 17, Griselda Blanco, made her way to the U.S. with a fake passport with her first husband Carlos (Carlos Rodriguez).
Living in Queens with her three sons (Dixon, Matteo Stefan; Osvaldo, Spencer Borgeson; Uber, Jose Julian), Griselda became enticed by the money the drug world offered, and quickly became embroiled with local drug runners. Griselda masterminded the use of beautiful women, the elderly and children as the mules and created false-bottom suitcases to smuggle cocaine from Colombia. With money rolling in, her sons abandoned school and entered the family business instead. A move to Miami would further expand Griselda's empire, and lead to the death of her second husband Alberto (Juan Pablo Espinosa), giving the rise to her nickname, The Black Widow. Her willingness to use violence against her Miami competitors, led her rivals to make repeated unsuccessful attempts to kill her. In order to protect her youngest son with third husband Dario (Raul Mendez), Griselda moved to California where she was later arrested by the DEA and sentenced to a decade in jail.
The case against her collapsed and upon her release, she was deported to Colombia, where she was ultimately gunned down in 2012. In her lifetime, Griselda's drug distribution network spanned across the United States and she was suspected of ordering over 200 murders.
“Cocaine Godmother” is produced by Asylum Entertainment for Lifetime with Emmy Award-winning Steven Michaels, Jonathan Koch (The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe), Joan Harrison (Manson's Lost Girls) and Alisa Tager (Enemy at the Gates) executive producing. Guillermo Navarro (“Pan's Labrynth,” “Narcos”) directs from a script written by David McKenna (“American History X”).
ABOUT “FAITH UNDER FIRE, THE ANTOINETTE TUFF STORY” (Premieres Jan. 27 at 8 pm ET/PT).
Seven time Grammy Award winner Toni Braxton stars as Antoinette Tuff, a struggling single mom from Georgia who heroically averted a tragedy, saving hundreds of lives when she convinced a deranged gunman who stormed an elementary school to surrender.
On August 20, 2013, shortly after arriving to work at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Antoinette the school's bookkeeper, was in the front office when Michael Hill (Trevor Morgan, “Abducted”), a young man with a history of mental illness, snuck in, armed with an AK-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. As the school went into lockdown, Antoinette was left alone with Michael, who repeatedly threatened to kill everyone.
Showing enormous courage and empathy, along with nerves of steel, Antoinette convinced Michael to surrender by using her own life struggles to connect with him. Antoinette's faith in God guided her through the toughest moments of her life, ultimately preparing her for that fateful day.
The film also stars Yaya DaCosta (“Whitney”) as 911 operator Kendra McKay and Malik Yoba (“Empire”) as Sergeant Franklin. Antoinette Tuff's son Derrick, who was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, is portrayed in the film by Shalaby Omar (Doubt), a young actor with Spina Bifida.
“Faith Under Fire” is produced by Sony Pictures Television and based on the book “Prepared for a Purpose: An Inspiring True Story of Faith, Courage and Compassion in Crisis” by Tuff and Alex Tresniowski.
Executive producers are T.D. Jakes (“Heaven is for Real”), Judith Verno (“Masters of Sex”), Derrick Williams (“Miracles from Heaven”), Toni Braxton and Craig Baumgarten (Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart).
Emmy nominee Vondie Curtis Hall (“Abducted: The Carlina White Story”) directs from a script written by Laura Harrington and Stephen Kay.
ABOUT “THE SIMONE BILES STORY” (Premieres Feb. 3 at 8 pm ET/PT).
Based on her book, “Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance,” “The Simone Biles Story” follows Simone Biles (Jeanté Godlock) through the sacrifices and hard work that led her to win 19 Olympic and World Championship medals and ultimately cemented her stake as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time.
After a field trip to a gymnastics training center when Simone was six years old, she caught the eye of a local coach who recognized that Simone had a remarkable gift for the sport. But pursuing her dream of becoming an elite gymnast also meant giving up high school football games, prom or starting college at UCLA.
With her parents Ron (Julius Tennon, “How to Get Away with Murder”) and Nellie Biles (Tisha Campbell-Martin, “My Wife and Kids”) and younger sister Adria (Raven Bowens, “The New Edition Story”) supporting her every step of the way, Simone's journey from foster care to the Olympic podium - with all of its triumphs and heartbreaks - can serve as an inspiration for every little girl with a dream.
“The Simone Biles Story” is executive produced by Howard Braunstein, Tom Patricia, Simone Biles, Janey Miller and Kyell Thomas for Octagon. Vanessa Parise directs from a script written by Kelly Fullerton.
Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from Lifetime.