J-Lo: Lopez in denial

J-Lo's happy to tell Tiffany Rose about her new film, but not about her use of fur

In the lobby of LA's Four Seasons Hotel I am checked, re-checked, probed, prodded, X-rayed, and branded with a sparkly, pink, wrist-band, I am then given the all-clear, by a burly, black-suited CIA-looking fellow with a walkie-talkie, to interview Jennifer Lopez about her new movie, Monster-in-Law.

Lopez has received death threats for wearing animal fur and mink eyelashes in her latest music video, "Hold you Down", and for using fur in her new fashion-line, Sweetface. There was a pre-interview warning: no fur questions or Lopez will walk out.

The 35-year-old has a $350m fashion and fragrance empire, has sold 35 million CDs, and gets $12m per picture for her acting. The Puerto Rican beauty, who boasts that her struggling years consisted of missed meals when she was just "Jenny from the block" (that's a block in the Bronx, you understand), has transformed herself into a global institution.

The acting began with some impressive offerings in the late 1990s, though more recent films, such as Shall We Dance and Gigli, have struggled. The pop career snowballed after the US box office success of Selena (1997), in which Lopez played the slain singer, Selena Perez.

It was the "Bennifer" media circus surrounding her relationship with Ben Affleck (which ended in January 2004) that threw a spanner in the works. Lopez admits she at first welcomed the attention. "I don't want to complain. I take responsibility for the fact that I didn't make adjustments," she has said. "Now I'm a little more careful. I travel in a certain way. I leave at a certain time. I learned."

In a black, figure-hugging, backless, Fendi dress which accentuates her precious derrière, with her earlobes and wrists dripping with diamonds, with chocolate-brown doe-eyes, flawless cinnamon skin, and cascading honey-highlighted hair, she's breathtakingly gorgeous. "I think that's an aspect of being in this business. You have a public persona," she explains in her strong Bronx accent. "Who you really are, that's your own thing, you have to hold onto that yourself. Your family knows what is all true, but it's all about keeping a focus on the work."

Monster-in-Law marks the end of Jane Fonda's 14-year absence from the big screen. Lopez guffaws at how she worked out to Fonda's exercise tapes in the 1980s, and admits she was a tad anxious at the prospect of working with the 67-year-old Oscar-winner. "I couldn't be scared, and I had to gain her respect," she smiles. "I had butterflies in my stomach. But at the end of the day, I had to bring to the table what they were paying me for."

Lopez plays a hippy-chick, Charlie, who finally meets the man of her dreams, Dr Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan), only to discover that his mother, Viola, (Fonda) believes Charlie is not good enough to marry her son. "We had some crazy, fun times on this shoot," says Lopez. "There were two scenes which we kept rewinding which were hilarious! They were the cake scene where Jane pushes my face in a cake, and the time when she punches me in bed. All of the slaps were real, and a lot of bags of ice were needed."

The middle of three daughters, Lopez was raised in a strict Catholic family in the Bronx. She recounts her initial taste of success. "The second movie I ever made was called Blood and Wine, with Jack Nicholson, and I was brand new at that point. I was like: 'I'm in a movie, what's he doing here?' And he's right across from me!"

"What you learn from actors like Jack and Jane is their work ethic. That's what I'm all about these days."

'Monster-in-Law' opens on 13 May

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food