by Gill Pringle

Thrice divorced, Lopez, 52, is no stranger to love and loss in the public eye, having famously dated Sean Combs, Alex Rodriguez and Ben Affleck – not once but twice, last year rekindling their original 2002 romance.

In Marry Me, her Kat Valdez is engaged to music star “Bastian”, portrayed by Columbian superstar, Maluma, 28.

In real life, Lopez was also married to a fellow Latin star, Marc Anthony, with whom she shares 13-year-old twins.

Co-starring with Owen Wilson in Marry Me, Lopez immediately felt a genuine chemistry, previously working together on Anaconda.

Romcoms are Lopez’ sweet spot, previously starring in box office hits, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan and Monster-in-Law.

Marry Me goes behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a huge star, whose life is experienced in the public eye. Obviously, this is something you understand in your own life?

“Yes, I understand this life. The film is literally going behind the veil of what it’s like to be a celebrity. Kat’s a global superstar who is also a strong, confidant businesswoman. She’s a boss but also a regular person who gets lonely and needs love. She wants to feel like she has a home and isn’t a gypsy traveling the world.”

And Kat has her heart broken in such a public way?

“Yes, in one second, everything changes, and it all falls apart. Kat blames herself for not seeing the truth, but also makes a spontaneous choice to marry somebody else in the audience. That’s how she meets Charlie. With that, her life completely changes, as it does when you meet someone who sees you for who you are.”

What are the particular challenges of living a life in the public eye?

“Living a life in the spotlight has its challenges. But the truth is that nobody wants to hear the ‘woe is me…’ part of that, but it has a scrutiny and a judgment to it that most people don’t ever have to deal with. That can be very lonely.”

Can you understand the impulse to marry a complete stranger?

“To me, Kat Valdez is a very self-assured recording artist veteran in the industry who has built her life into something she is proud of but which also, in her personal life, has become a bit unsatisfying. I think, for her, there’s a beautiful journey here, once Owen’s character Charlie comes into her life. It really changes her forever; it changes her perspective. Sometimes you feel kinda caught; ‘OK, I’m trapped in this thing; I’m trapped in this life; this is all I can do, and I really don’t get to have a life – or a love – like everybody else’. I think what Owen’s character teaches her is that she can and that it is possible, and that there is hope for her and she could have a real love and a real home – which she’s never had.”

Music is a key element of Marry Me. Talk about making a movie and an album at the same time?

“It was such a pleasure to have my two worlds come together. This is the first time that I’ve been able to make an album with a movie, which has been a dream of mine. It’s the first time I’ve done a movie with music since Selena, and in that film, they used Selena’s voice, so I never got to sing myself. There is no filler in this movie; everything has a real purpose and real fun to it. It’s a musical, so I’m taking romantic comedies, which I love, and my performing and my dancing and my singing, and putting them both together for the first time. They really allowed me to input into where and when and what these musical moments would be for this character. And also to pick the music for the arc of the character because there’s nobody who understood the character more than I did and nobody who understand what it is to be a musical artist and to be this person within this movie. Picking the songs for the moments was such a pleasure for me and then to have Maluma fill in the blanks for his character – and he did such a great job with the two songs that he did.”

Will you do more music with Maluma?

“We have a good musical chemistry. ‘Marry Me’ is one of my favourite duets that I’ve ever done with anyone. He’s a great songwriter and a great interpreter of song and I would love to do more together.”

You’re a producer, singer, dancer, actress and songwriter. Is there anything you can’t do?

“There’s so much I can’t do, there’s not even enough time to get into it. But I do feel very lucky that I get to do all the things that I do. I feel like I’m at a point in my career where I’m hitting my stride with what I know my abilities to be and being confident in that, whereas when I was younger, I was a little bit more insecure and finding my way. It’s great to be at a point in my life where I feel like I really know myself and I trust myself. But there’s definitely a lot of things I cannot do. I really suck at basketball of all things.”

You’ve starred in many romantic comedies. Do you have a special place in your heart for the romcom?

“Yes I do, and I think that’s why I’ve done so many throughout my career. It’s because I , as a moviegoer, love romantic comedies; those are some of my favourite movies of all time, whether it’s When Harry Met Sally or Prelude to a Kiss; any of these types of movies in the Meg Ryan/Julia Roberts era. I grew up on those movies in a way and I love them so much and so it is kind of a homecoming for me because I haven’t done one in a few years. And then this year I’ve done two with Marry Me and then Shotgun Wedding, I have coming out at some point with Josh Duhamel.”

What attracts you about a romcom script?

“Typically, it’s hard to reinvent it every time – like, how do you make it different from the last one because we kind of always know that two people are going to wind up together and that’s going to be the end. So, it’s really about how interesting the journey is and the interaction between the two characters and how interesting that is, and if that’s written well, that’s what makes me want to do it.”

What’s your ideal Valentine’s Day?

“The ideal Valentine’s Day is just me and my partner alone in a place where we don’t have to worry about people watching us or where there won’t be a bunch of paparazzi where we can have some privacy and private moments where we can really talk about life and love and just really appreciating the company and being in love and being together.”

Do you have a favourite song in this?

“I loved ‘Nobody’s Watching Us’ so much because I can really relate but, for me, ‘On My Way’ has such perfect sentiments and a song that everybody could relate to because we all feel like the mistakes we make are so tragic in our lives and this is so hopeful because it says that every single mistake that I made was leading toward a yellow brick road to exactly where I needed to be, and I do believe that in life. So, if I had to pick a favourite child – which I would never do – it would be ‘On My Way’.”

Marry Me is in cinemas February 10, 2022


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