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The Back-up Plan – Jennifer Lopez on her return to the big screen

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Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) © CBS Films Inc.
Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) © CBS Films Inc.

In 2001, Jennifer Lopez made history. Her movie The Wedding Planer was the nation’s top-grossing movie at the same time that her album J.Lo was Number One on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.

She married singer Marc Anthony in 2004, and gave birth to twins Emme and Max in 2008, putting her movie career on hold to be a mom. But now she’s back with her new romantic comedy, playing Zoe, a single woman who is tired of waiting for her dream man to appear. She decides to take matters into her own hands and sees a doctor about having a baby alone. The very same day she meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), and falls in love . As their relationship develops, so does her pregnancy, which becomes a comedy of errors for Zoe and creates confusing signals for Stan.

Jennifer Lopez spoke with the press about her return to the big screen in the genre she loves the best.


This movie has a serious message about pregnancy and children and the complications of love and lust – do you think this film is a message movie?

Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin © CBS Films Inc.
Stan (Alex O'Loughlin) and Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) enjoy their first date © CBS Films Inc.

It’s not a message movie, it’s a romantic comedy and it definitely deals with modern issues, which I love. That’s what I really liked about it. When I read it, it has a very modern voice, it seemed very of today and I think that’s very important for romantic comedies that they do deal with issues. This doesn’t feel like it’s a story from 20 years ago, which some romantic comedies can be like. So that was one of the things that really attracted me to it.

Do you consider this your comeback?

As far as the comeback, I don’t really think of it that way. I was just home on maternity leave working and making music and doing things like that and now my first movie is coming out since I was fat!

Does being a mom make you a better actress?

Absolutely, but I knew that was happening as it was happening, because the way I felt about life and the way I felt about my children was so deep and profound and it was the first time I’ve felt anything like that, that I knew that as an artist it was going to make a huge difference in everything that I did. When I was on the movie I really felt the growth of myself as a human being, as a person.

Is art imitating life as you have twins?

So many things in this movie were art imitating life for me, because I had just gone through the pregnancy. Kate Angelo, when she wrote the script, she had just gone through a pregnancy as well. It was so fresh in our minds that we really fought with the guys sometimes about certain things, like, ‘This has to stay in, and this has to be there. No, you don’t get it. This is important. Women are going to love this.’ We used a lot from real life.

What was it about this film that made you want to do it?

Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin © CBS Films Inc.
Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin © CBS Films Inc.

It was just time for me to do a movie again, I think, and I just love romantic comedies and it was the first thing that I wanted to do coming back. So we started looking for one and this one came up and it was just perfect. Obviously, throughout my career I’ve always felt like certain things come to me at the right time. When I look at the work I’ve done it’s always indicative of where I was in my life at that moment. And this was the same thing, it was just serendipitous that it happened this way, it was perfect.

Can you talk about learning the rhythms of a romantic comedy?

I think with romantic comedies it’s a lot about tone, because different romantic comedies have different tones. I think you really have to understand what kind of story the director wants to tell, and what kind of tone he wants the movie to have. Sometimes it gets created on the set as well, with how you start playing with an actor, with the material and what the director likes, and it becomes created through the actors with the director during the film.
But I think everything needs to be played for truth and reality. And when you do that it’s funnier and you really do hit the emotional beats. I do it the same way as I do a drama, I just play it for truth and then I maybe have a little bit of fun with it sometimes.

What was your reaction that you were having twins in real life?

I was in denial that I was even pregnant, so when I found out I was having twins I kind of just laughed like, ‘Of course this would happen.’ And I started giggling and Marc started crying, it was joyous, we were happy. He said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’ He had had children before but these were his first twins.

Did you have a back-up plan? If you hadn’t have married Marc would you still have had babies?

No, it’s just too hard. Honestly, I have so much respect for single moms or anybody who finds themselves a single mother. But to choose to be a single mother is just so courageous to me. It is such a hard job to raise a child and to be everything to that child without a partner, It’s admirable and brave and every other valiant word I can think of. I don’t know if I could do it on my own, I really don’t.