Jennifer Lopez in ‘Marry Me,’ Fame and Ben Affleck

LOS ANGELES – Of course the fireplace is lit at Jennifer Lopezhouse of. It was a rainy day just a week before Christmas, and her Spanish-style Bel-Air estate was decorated as you’d expect: pine garlands strewn around her coat, orange roses on the coffee table. coffee, Christmas tree is professionally trimmed in the living room.

It’s like a page in the Recovery Hardware category, right down to the star herself, wearing a deluxe version of her home uniform: chunky beige sweater, cream sweatpants, blue Timberlands. Her hair was tied up in a bun and light makeup accentuated her impossibly fair skin. The giant diamond studs attached to her ears are a gift that truly shows her as one of the most famous women on the planet.

That makes you wonder, is there anything that just happened to happen in Jennifer Lopez’s life? It’s a question that needs special thought after her new boyfriend, Ben Affleck, appeared for kisses and whispers near a giant gingerbread house frozen with the words “The Affleck Family” Lopez.”

After all, this is a woman who has successfully navigated the perilous waters of celebrity for nearly three decades, enduring round after round of public love affairs and breakups, rehab. Transform yourself from dancer to singer, actor to producer. At 52, a time when female stars often find themselves in an ageist and sexist Hollywood purgatory, she seems more relevant than ever.

Her new movie, Sparkling romantic comedy “Marry Me” long delayed by the pandemic, hits theaters and on Peacock over Valentine’s Day weekend. In it, Lopez plays a J.Lo-like superstar trying to negotiate a love life amid the trappings of fame. (Sounds familiar?) She’ll be playing another bride in “”Unexpected wedding,” will premiere this summer, before swapping the cape for a deadly assassin in the upcoming Netflix series. “Mother,” which she plans to finish filming in the Canary Islands after the Christmas break.

At some point, the streaming service, which last year signed on a multi-year agreement with Lopez’s company, Nuyorican Productions, will also release a documentary documenting the year she turned 50 and all of her different worlds combined: proper recognition for her performance in “Hustlers” (she earned her second Golden Globe nomination and the SAG Award nod), her 2019 international tour, and a halftime performance at Super Bowl 2020. That, she said, “when everything I did in movies, music and fashion just started happening.”

The “Marry Me” that Lopez began working on years ago with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, her former agent turned production partner, is, in a sense, an explanation of what it exists in the spotlight of Lopez, what she calls “a very specific life. It’s also a sublime act, a bet that she can revive a genre that has been decimated by both the studio system and the rom-com stars of the past.

For Goldsmith-Thomas, Lopez’s decision to move from “Hustlers,” the film that elevated her as a serious actress, to “Marry Me,” more in line with her earlier success with as a rom-com celebrity (“The Maid in Manhattan, “”Wedding planner“), makes perfect sense. “We love doing ‘Hustlers,’ but that doesn’t mean that’s all we should be doing,” she said. and what it’s like to love in a glass bowl, to have your faults amplified and nailed on all platforms, and finally find your way in spite of it. producing and performing the soundtrack for that journey, and we would be foolish not to.”

In “Marry Me,” Lopez plays Kat Valdez, a global pop star who intends to marry her boyfriend, who is also a worldwide celebrity (played by the Colombian singer-songwriter). shoulder Maluma), in front of millions of fans in a televised stunt. Moments before the loud “I do”, Valdez discovered he was cheating on her, left the ceremony while on stage and decided to marry the poor man in the audience (Owen Wilson) who was holding a “Marry Me” sign. Think “The Bodyguard” meets “Notting Hill” complete with a Lopez soundtrack.

The film is both a fantasy fantasy story and a glimpse into a life that a lucky few are led. Any obsessive fan of Lopez is sure to scrutinize it for clues about Lopez’s own psyche, namely how lonely it can be at the top, where his cocoon Right can often feel like a cage. And they won’t be wrong.

Lopez recalls filming a scene in which her character returning home from a stunt had gone south, exhausted and still wearing her cape. She turns on Jimmy Fallon, only to find him insulting her in a late-night monologue, and she begins to cry. It’s a hint of vulnerability that you don’t often see from Lopez and one that took a while for the actress to reach.

“When you’ve been burned a few times, you realize, ‘I have to be careful.’ If things are too deep and you put them out there, someone will probably step on your heart,” she said, adding an explanation.

The film’s director, Kat Coiro, admires Lopez’s quest for perfection. She said, “There is a choreography even in her acting. However, for the shot to work, Coiro asked Lopez to repeat it several times to break that thin plank. The results feel real, or as real as Lopez would allow her to.

“I had to remind myself in this movie that this is really a safe place to vent those feelings,” said Lopez, sitting in front of the garlanded fireplace. “They were making fun of me, it was heartbreaking. My instinct is to act like nothing. ”

Lopez has spent decades trying to find a balance between what the public wants from her and what she’s willing to give them. She still loves to meet and greet her fans after concerts. Coiro, for one, was amazed at the amount of time she was available to them.

“She’s so ubiquitous that sometimes she doesn’t get the credit she deserves,” the director said. “I think there’s something in this movie.” When Kat Valdez “talks about never having won any awards, I think it was a real moment in my life,” Coiro continued. “She was around here. She has fans like no other, and because of that prominence she is sometimes not seen in a certain way. ”

Despite the hurdles, public perception is something Lopez struggles to get right.

“You really just want to sing, dance and act,” says Lopez. “The whole other thing that comes with it is that you have to learn to navigate – have this public life, this artistic life and then your private life. What you want is just a normal life, like anyone else,” she said with a pause. “It’s all under scrutiny.”

Lopez was just telling me this when Affleck showed up. “Hi there,” she told him. The two set fire to the internet last year when they rekindled their relationship 19 years ago – a relationship so strained at the time that it single-handedly fueled tabloid culture with meetings. charming and very public of the duo. (Review of Lopez’s infamous 2002 “Jenny From the Block” videotapes to watch Affleck kiss her bikini bottom while the two sunbathe on the yacht.) With his backpack slung over his shoulder, he interrupted the interview to drag her into another room. They came back 10 minutes later, only to hug, kiss and whisper “I love you” into each other’s ears. “Okay, my love, I’ll see you later,” he said before darting away.

It was a special moment. Has it been planned yet? Spontaneous? My request to speak to Affleck was denied, but here he is, the serious boyfriend sharing words of encouragement in front of the press.

I asked Lopez about the conversations the two of them had before rekindling a romance that could have sunk two movies and jeopardized their respective careers. (“Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” later both crashed on release, in part because of an unstable relationship.

“I can say we learned our lesson the first time around,” she said with a sigh.

And what is that lesson?

“To keep it sacred,” she added. “You have to do what feels good to you all the time. But at the same time, you learn from the past, you do things better the second time around. There’s a part to it, yes, we’re together. But there’s a part of it that isn’t, you know, so open-minded as we were when we were so young and in love years ago. “

As for everything she’s shared with the public during her four-year relationship with Yankee Alex Rodriguez before, from her frequent red carpet appearances to intimate Instagram snaps with her kids surname? Both even tried to buy the New York Mets in 2020, only to lose to the higher bidder.

“When you’re in things, you do what feels right. And I don’t beat myself up about ‘I wish I had done this differently’ or ‘Did I do too much?’, she said. “That was what was comfortable at the time. I did what I did. He did what he did. And it was fine. Relationship stuff has nothing to do with being public or not. “

One thing seems clear: Lopez is a hopeless romantic, one who, despite three marriages and other failed romances, still believes in destiny. It’s her new line of films and also seems to be her line of life, one she has no intention of changing anytime soon.

“You can’t live life thinking that everything is just wrong: I just messed up there, I messed up there. No, that was all the lesson,” she said. “It’s really what you can extrapolate from it that will help you grow and go to the next level of understanding yourself, finding yourself and being able to be at peace with your life, at peace with your children. his people.” Jennifer Lopez in ‘Marry Me,’ Fame and Ben Affleck

Fry Electronics Team

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