From The Wedding Planner to Maid In Manhattan, Jennifer Lopez is no stranger to a tear-jerking romcom. And this month, she’s teamed up with fellow romantic movie regular Owen Wilson for what is sure to become an instant classic.
Drawing on experience from her own life of mega-stardom, in Marry Me Jennifer plays a globally famous singer, Kat Valdez. The girl’s got it all and is about to get married in front of an audience of loyal fans, but seconds before the ceremony, she learns of her fiancé’s cheating ways and has a meltdown on stage. Binning off the unfaithful scoundrel, Kat instead decides to take a leap of faith and marry a stranger in the crowd.
J.Lo is more than used to having her love life splashed across the pages of newspapers around the globe and last week opened up about her relationship with past and current boyfriend Ben Affleck.
Speaking to People magazine, the 52-year-old said, “I feel so lucky and happy and proud to be with him.” Reflecting on their rekindled romance she added, “It’s a beautiful love story that we got a second chance. I’ve never been better.”
Here, loved-up Jennifer discusses the parallels between reality and fiction when it comes to her character in the new film…
Tell us about your role in Marry Me.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I play Kat Valdez, a global superstar. She’s strong and confident, she’s a businesswoman and she’s a boss – but also, she’s just a regular person. She’s a regular girl who gets lonely and who needs love and who wants to feel like she has a home. There was so much about it that really I could understand like nobody else could understand. It was really about baring my soul. It was actually a little bit more uncomfortable than playing a character that is nothing like you, because this was bringing real personal life experience into a role in a way that I’ve never had to.
Tell us about Kat’s journey…
JLO: At the opening of the movie, Kat is about to get married. She thinks her life is going to be one thing, she’s doing this huge concert with her boyfriend of a couple of years and she thinks her life is headed down this one path. And in one second, everything changes – and it all falls apart. Obviously, she blames herself for not seeing things, but makes a choice, a very spontaneous choice to marry somebody else in the audience. And that’s how she meets Charlie [played by Owen Wilson]. With that, her life completely changes, as it does when you meet someone who really sees you for who you are. And Charlie is not a celebrity, doesn’t know who she is as an artist and doesn’t know how famous she is. He’s able to really just see a person and love her for who she is, just a girl, the nice person that she is. The person that likes to have fun, the person who is competitive and loves to dance. It’s nice to see how these two very different people can kind of come together and really fall in love – and you really believe it.
You and Owen Wilson have such great on-screen chemistry…
JLO: Owen is amazing! His character really helps her grow and stand on her own for the first time in her life, is a friend to her, and helps her realise that she’s the love of her life. And until that happens you really can’t be in a good relationship with anybody and that’s maybe been her problem the whole time. He helps her discover that.
What was it like working with a romcom regular like Owen?
JLO: Owen and I are so very different, which kind of worked for the characters really well. And it was just great getting together with him and hearing his perspective on Charlie and my perspective on Kat and how differently we thought about things. But at the end of the day, I think those differences are what the movie is about. And how different their lives are and how do you bring two people together that way? We were really able to connect with them, which is what everyone wants at the end of the day. No matter how big and famous you are, you just want a simple life, you want to be happy, you want to have love, you want to find love. And I think Charlie and Kat both have that and I think that’s where Owen and I really concentrated with the two characters and were able to create this wonderful chemistry between us.
Colombian singer Maluma plays your ex, Bastian. What was it like to work with him?
JLO: Working with Maluma was a joy, it was so much fun. This was his first movie and his first time acting. I remember doing the first scene with him and going to the director [Kat Coiro] and going, “He’s a natural, that’s good.” It’s not going to be weird or awkward, it’s not like he’s studied acting his whole life or anything like that, this was just him really doing it. We got really lucky because he was a really natural actor and he really understood what his role was and we had a lot of fun. I mean it’s his charisma, you know. We needed somebody who could really pull off that they were a superstar, a recording artist, who was easy on stage, who girls would go crazy for and who was believable as a cheater [Laughs]. He hates that! He’s like, “You know I’m not this guy. This is not who I am, I am not Bastian.” And I go, “I know, I know.”
Was it fun shooting the concert scene at New York’s iconic venue, Madison Square Garden?
JLO: It was so much fun because we really wanted to sing at a big venue… in the middle of the movie and Maluma just happened to be doing a concert in Madison Square Garden during that time. He had a few shows there, so we were like, “Why don’t we crash that concert and film it?” And so we did. He was a great sport about it. In the middle of his regular concert with all his fans, I just come out and we do Marry Me – it was amazing. It was really, really amazing. It was a lot of fun.
INTERVIEW: JENNY DAVIS/ HOT FEATURES
PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK