LOS ANGELES - Sofia Vergara, a Colombian-American actress best known for her career-defining comedy role on the sitcom "Modern Family," says her acting jobs are somewhat limited because of the way she speaks.
Speaking to the LA Times about her new dramatic role as the infamous Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco in Netflix’s "Griselda," Vergara noted difficulties she has faced in Hollywood due to her accent.
"I’m always looking for characters because there’s not much that I can play with this stupid accent," Vergara told the Times, poking fun at herself. "I can’t play a scientist or be in ‘Schindler’s List.’ My acting jobs are kind of limited."
Vergara famously portrayed Gloria Pritchett on ABC’s "Modern Family," which stretched 11 seasons and earned her four Emmy nominations. But the role of Blanco, a real-life female crime boss who earned the nickname "the Godmother of Cocaine," was a role she also hoped to play.
Blanco’s story first caught Vergara’s attention when she watched the 2006 documentary "Cocaine Cowboys." Vergara told the Times how she later read an article detailing the female crime boss’ rise and became determined to play the figure.
Vergara teamed up with producer and writer Eric Newman and director Andrés Baiz, both behind Netflix’s cartel dramas "Narcos" and "Narcos: Mexico," to create the new six-part limited Netflix series.
In "Griselda," the rise-and-fall story begins with Blanco fleeing Colombia to Miami with her three sons – only to "create one of the most profitable cartels in history," according to a show description.
"From the earliest days of my research for what became Narcos, [Griselda] leapt out at me as a fascinating character," Newman told Netflix’s Tudum. "I have always endeavored to humanize complicated people, many of whom have been considered evil, and Griselda offered both the greatest challenge and opportunity."
In playing Blanco, Vergara was able to stretch her acting muscles beyond comedy. Newman added how he wasn’t surprised that the famous actress could pull off the role.
"She’s a force of nature, and there is no doubt in my mind that whatever she sets her mind to, she can accomplish," Newman said. "She was perfect for the role –– not only because she, like Griselda, is a single mother who came to America from Colombia with nothing and built an empire –– but because it was unexpected of her to do [so]. Sofía has been thought of one way –– a beautiful and brilliant comedic actress –– and she is so much more than that."
"Griselda" was released Thursday on Netflix and is now streaming.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.