Award Winning Actor Martín Rodríguez talks about starring in Netflix hit ‘Griselda’

Little known to many, Colombian born Griselda Blanco amassed a staggering drug empire, in 1970s and 80s Miami – unsuspecting to many around her, and with this, enduring a life of brutality and ambition that would inevitably result in an ascent to power. Supported by her right hand man – Rivi Ayala, Griselda would gain the reputation as the ‘Godmother of the Underworld’. Currently a hit Netflix drama available to stream, her story is dramatised by leading Hollywood star Sofia Vergara, alongside multi-award winning actor Martín Rodriguez who takes on the role of Rivi. Enjoying critical acclaim, Martin tells us more about approaching playing the role, working with the cast and crew and what viewers who haven’t yet watched the show can expect.

Hi Martin! You star in the hit Netflix series Griselda currently available to stream now. What feedback have you received towards the show so far?

We are very happy with the results from the series this year, it was very hard work during the whole year of 2022. It is very exciting because it is something that we did from the heart with Latin American actors featuring Sofia Vergara who was very, very generous with everything that she could be, so yeah, we’re very happy!

Rivi, the role that you play is Griselda’s (played by Sofia Vergara) right hand man. Griselda’s story of becoming the lead of one of the most profitable cartels in history little known – earning her the reputation as ‘The Godmother of the underworld’. How did you approach interpreting the role of Rivi?

Well, you know what? Rivi is based on a real person who is still alive, he was very close to Griselda. So, particularly when he meets Griselda Blanco, he’s completely fascinated by her. We wanted to detail that, and he’s willing to do anything for her, so he starts to help her until he becomes her right hand man. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet him personally, but I got to know him through a documentary he made from prison called Cocaine Cowboys – It is very interesting, the things that he says. The character has some elements that connect more with specific fiction and with active artistic freedoms.

What drew you to want to be a part of the production?

Through the audition, I understood what kind of story they wanted to tell, and I understood the script that was very well written and well defined. So it was a surprise to me to have the opportunity to be part of a project with people who had worked on things such as Narcos, they were a very nice team to meet. The possibility to work with this high level, for an actor – I was lucky to work with the director behind the project (Andrès Baiz) because he is someone who knows about the genre, the drama, the narco stories.

Griselda is directed by Andrès Baiz, produced by Eric Newman and Sofia Vergara who also stars as the lead role. As well as starring Vanessa Ferlito, Alberto Guerra, Christian Tappan and Karol G. How have you all worked together to create the show?

Well it was a big team, the cast were wonderful, excellent actors and excellent people! We really felt like a family, so we had fun and the atmosphere was very collaborative. I worked with a super creative team, including each and every one of the departments, and a director who lets us fly in everything – I think you you really can’t ask for more.

What have you learned/taken away from working on the production?

The team were great, I mean, working with these kind of people that really know the stories they want to tell – a real, true story. The story needed very specific treatment, and the direction was very important to me – every project that I choose is important. The relationship with the director creates very powerful and unique combinations in relation to your character and for your team. I think when you see a good actor, what you’re seeing  is a good director artistic relationship.

What can viewers who haven’t yet watched the series expect?

We’re very happy with the results and we hope that people like it and enjoy it. There are very good Latin American actors within it and very good photography. It’s a story very well told, in a raw yet human way.

What would you like for viewers to take away from the series?

I hope the audience loves it. I think each viewer perceives the series according to his life story or identifies with different things or with different characters, it’s told with a lot of humanity to help the audience to enjoy the story, which is extremely well told to include the performance, the photography, the music, of course, Sofia one of the most amazing performances of her life.

Interview by Lucy Basaba.

Griselda is currently available to stream on Netflix here…

Written by Theatrefullstop