When Jennifer Lopez walks into a room full of assurance and self-confidence, not to
mention her beauty, it's easy to be taken by her. The fiery Latin actress has gone from
unknown to A-list movie star in a short period of time. Now, within 2 weeks, Australian
audiences will see (or least hear) two sides of her; first as the sexy FBI agent smitten
with a laconic bank robber in the critical hit, Out of Sight (from October 15), and as the
voice of a computer-generated ant opposite Woody Allen and Sylvester Stallone, in Antz
(from October 29).
"being involved with the calibre of actors..." on
Having played a collection of sexy screen characters, was doing a film such as Antz a
way to prove how strong an actress she's capable of being - without her physical persona.
"I don't think it's a question of proving if I can do this or that; it was more about
being involved with the calibre of actors that were doing this that was appealing to me.
That they would even ask me to be a part of that, and knowing that a studio such as
DreamWorks was going to do new and innovative things."
Despite her Latino origins, the New York-born Lopez has been able to play many
culturally diverse characters. "I feel I've been very lucky to have been given the
opportunity to do different kinds of roles, not just Latin roles, and I think that
perspective is changing a little bit. For me it's been good, but I know for a lot of other
actors, it's been hard to break out of that."
Yes, 1997 certainly turned out to be a banner year for Lopez. She starred opposite Jack
Nicholson in Bob Rafelson's well-received noir thriller, Blood and Wine, and revisited the
genre later that year when she appeared opposite Sean Penn in Oliver Stone's U-Turn. Lopez
beat out a bevy of A-list actresses to land the female lead in Out of Sight, which has
finally confirmed Lopez as a major star.
"I loved her complexity" on Out of
In the film, George Clooney plays Jack Foley a successful but luckless bank robber. By
applying his smile, his charm, and his mind, he manages to make illegal withdrawals more
than 200 times (never using a gun) before the FBI nab him. Now, after being busted out of
jail with the help of his best friend, Buddy (Ving Rhames), he's on his way from Florida
to Detroit for a big score -- $5 million in uncut diamonds hidden in the home of Wall
Street financier and white collar crim, Richard Ripley (Albert Brooks), a former prison
But some unfinished business is trailing Jack. During his escape, he had taken a female
federal marshal, Karen Sisco (Lopez), hostage. Despite the circumstances, the spark
between them was instantaneous and undeniable, and now Jack finds himself thinking of her
constantly. For her part, even as she tracks him down, she dreams of what it might be like
to have a tryst with him. "She's a tough character on the outside, as well as
vulnerable; I loved her complexity." It was a tough, physical film for Lopez, and
involved her spending quite some time cooped up in the cramped back seat of a car with
co-star Clooney, while convincing the audience that these characters connected.
To enhance the reality of that sequence, it was initially shot in one, continuous take,
"without doing any coverage on it, just one two-shot of the two of us in the trunk.
They tried it and it ran for seven minutes, but it was really tough to do it that way,
because it was such a long scene.
"We did 45 takes of it, using take 44" on
that scene with Clooney in the boot
"We did 45 takes of it, using take 44, but they then realised that once they put
it in the film, you didn't get the feeling that they were in there a long time, so we had
to go back and re-shoot it. It was tough."
Lopez agrees that despite her newfound position in the Hollywood pecking order, it
remains hard to find such characters to play. "It's true that characters like these
don't come along every day, but that was one of THE wonderful things about it, that I was
able to do something like it. I just look at everything as a challenge and an opportunity
to grow as an actress, and to do bigger and better things. That's always been my
Antz, she says, "was very challenging because what you're using is just your
voice; that's the only thing that's getting recorded. At the same time, as an actress,
you're using EVERYTHING, but it's not coming through, so you have to find the way to do
that through your voice only." Lopez insists that she did relatively little
preparation for this movie, "because they didn't really give us the scenes. We would
just come in, they'd choose a line for us and then describe the scene to us, explain what
it's going to be like, and then you'd try to play it like a regular scene, as if you're
acting. Though it's a very technical process, there's still considerable acting required.
You've got to find the heart in it; that's your job."
Though refusing to be drawn on the sudden collapse of her marriage, Lopez admits that
fame has its negative side. "There's the loss of privacy, which is the big thing, and
this obsessive interest in your personal life, which I find weird. You don't quite
understand why there's such a hunger and need to know about your personal life. That's one
of the things that's missing in Hollywood today; back in the forties there was much more
mystery that surrounded the movie stars, which made it all the more interesting. Now it
all seems less glamorous and wonderful than it was then."