Jennifer Lopez looks quietly elegant, dressed in a white knitted top, in full charge, like a Queen Bee organizing her troops, and ensuring that not even her publicist interfere with the way she takes charge of a crowded, fascinated press.
La Lopez, promoting the acerbic comedy Monster in Law, pits her against the legendary Jane Fonda, herself returning to the big screen after a 15 year hiatus, as the future mother-in-law of Lopez’s Charlotte “Charlie” Cantilin, determined to destroy the wannabe marriage by hook or by crook. Lopez reveled in this classic revenge tale, smiling warmly at the memories of a set filled with bruises and laughter. “I have a lot of monster-in-law – like war stories, just from getting beat up a lot by Miss Fonda, but it was fun. We really did have a lot of fun. It was the type of set where you actually looked forward to going there everyday, and she made it a great experience, from a working standpoint, pushing every scene.”
Lopez says she found it easy to relate to Charlie, a woman trying to juggle various jobs while maintaining a personal life. “I could relate to her because she does do a lot of different things. I mean we do them for different reasons, but I think this character is more indecisive about her life, and doesn’t want to commit to anything, while I’m a little bit more decisive about the things I want to do,” Lopez admits. When asked about her own real-life relationship with her latest mother-in-law, Lopez smiles sweetly revealing little. “Well that’s a little private, but I can say this: I’ve never had any trouble with boyfriends’ moms, or any moms of anybody that I’ve been with, so I’ve been lucky. I guess they like me,” she adds, grinning broadly.
The continual fascination with Miss Lopez is unending. From her humble New York beginnings, to her early days singing for her supper in Japan, Lopez has now become the fodder of an ever obsessive public and media. The actress admits that she has had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way to fame and fortune. “I think the biggest sacrifice you make when you’re in this business is the rest of your life in general,” Lopez quietly admits. “I don’t know how to explain that, except that maybe it’s something you do understand this because you do travel with your work, and you sacrifice relationships, you sacrifice seeing your family as much as you’d like to, you sacrifice weekends, you sacrifice having the normal pleasures that everybody else takes for granted. So you give that up, and it doesn’t matter to you when you’re in your 20’s, because you kind of just go, okay, you know what I mean? Then all of a sudden you’re like: I missed out on a lot, but it is what it is. I also have a lot to be thankful for too.”
While Lopez admits that such sacrifices go with the territory, the actress is less forgiving of a prying media contingent that insists on crossing the line. Lopez recalls such behaviour during the filming of Monster-in-Law, when the aggressive paparazzi waited, ready to pounce. “it’s just surprising to me how aggressive they are these days. I mean as recently as yesterday on the way home we almost got into an accident. I’m astounded myself by the kind of aggressiveness that they have these days and it’s just getting worse and worse and worse. I feel like sometimes I feel like it’s a game, like they’re playing cops and robbers and they’re spies.”
The situation became so intense for the actress, that she avoided leaving her house for a period. “Eventually they figure out where you live, so I actually did pull back a little bit where you stopped seeing me everywhere all the time and I just stopped leaving my house, and that’s the crazy part of it. But I don’t like to talk about it, because nobody likes to hear somebody in the public eye who they feel makes a lot of money, complain, so we don’t, but it is a very strange thing. Nobody writes books about how to deal with that, so maybe I’ll do that next.”
Lopez does deal with her celebrity as honestly as is needed, while juggling her multifaceted professional life, which combines music and acting. Lopez admits it’s tough to be so creative and so ridiculously busy. “it’s hard when you have a lot of things going on to kind of get the clear space that you need sometimes to let inspiration come or creativity happen. It’s a difficult task, but I’ve learned because I do many different things, that there is time for everything. The most important thing for me has always been acting and my music, so that’s my first priority.”
Lopez, who’s enjoyed a varied film career, with equal doses of success and failure, is set to put her movie career back in full gear. She is about to begin shooting the drama Bordertown, who first directed Lopez in 1997 Selena. “It’s about the kinds of serial killing that’s going on there and I play a reporter,” she adds, smilingly. Lopez will next be seen in Lasse Hallström’s An Unfinished Life, co-starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman. “I play the daughter-in-law to Robert Redford. It’s another in-law movie in a way, but it’s a small movie. It’s a drama about forgiveness.” Following Bordertown, Lopez is doing two more dramas, beginning with “El Con Dante or Who killed Pepe Lavoy. I’m also the producer, so I’m not sure what we’re going to call it yet.” And Lopez also confirms that she is set to finally star in Carmen, which she has been trying to get made for several years. It appears that La Lopez has a lot to prove and intends doing just that.