Jenny from the block returns to the big screen in The Back-up Plan, her first major screen appearance in five years. In this unconventional romantic comedy she stars as Zoe, a stubborn pet shop owner in her 30s who’s determined to quit waiting for Mr. Right and start a family via insemination. Ready to give up on love, her fate takes an unexpected turn when she meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) but her timing couldn’t be more off—she’s already pregnant!
Read on as Jennifer Lopez candidly talks about her comeback, married life and an unexpected pregnant nude scene.
Q: Jennifer, why did you choose to return to the screen in The Back-up Plan?
Jennifer Lopez: It was just time for me to do a movie again. I love romantic comedies. Throughout my career, I’ve always felt like certain things come to me at the right time. When I look at the work that I’ve done, it’s always very indicative of where I was in my life at the moment. This was the same thing.
Q: Do you feel like this is your big comeback, after motherhood?
Lopez: 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 now [this is] my first movie coming out since I was fat. [Laughs]
Q: If you hadn’t met Marc Anthony and had babies, would you have considered having children on your own as a single parent?
Lopez: No, it’s just too hard. Honestly, I have so much respect for single moms, or anybody who finds themselves a single mother. 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. I don’t know if I could do it on my own. I really don’t.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant with twins?
Lopez: I was in denial that I was even pregnant, so when I found out I was having twins, I just laughed. I was like, “Of course, this would happen!” I started giggling and Marc started crying. It was joyous. We were happy. He’s emotional. It was just like, “I can’t believe this is happening.” He had had children before, but it was his first twins.
Q: You’re obsessed with a pregnancy pillow in the movie. Like in real life?
Lopez: You’re going to love this. I had twins, so it was really uncomfortable because you lay on one side and there’s a baby, and you lay on the other side and there’s a baby. So I did have this really big pregnancy pillow. Marc still sleeps with it, to this day. Literally, while I was pregnant he was like, “I want one of those,” and he got one. [Laughs] He travels with this pillow.
Q: How do you and Marc handle the pressures of parenting and maintaining a career?
Lopez: It’s hard. The twins are at the point right now where, just in the past few days, they come to the door and start yelling, “No, mommy, don’t go!” I was like, “Oh, this is bad. This is tough.”
Q: Your character Zoe seems to have a bit of commitment issues. Was any of that based on your own experiences?
Lopez: Zoe and I are so opposite. She was comfortable being alone because of having lost her parents so early, and I’m so uncomfortable being alone. It was funny because, in a sense, it made me admire this person. I loved playing her because I envy people like this. But, it also became her crutch. Her big flaw is that she was so afraid to let anybody into her life that she was going to let something great pass her by, or subconsciously destroy it. That was also one of the things that was so great about this script—it just wasn’t typical. We’re used to seeing men with the commitment issues. Here’s a woman who has her own business and has money in the bank, and is actually better off than her male counterpart. That was actually very interesting to me.
Q: At one point we see you in the nude and fully pregnant. Whose idea was that?
Lopez: I just thought that a naked pregnant woman checking herself out would just be so funny. I actually wish there was more of it in the movie. It was actually my idea to put it in because I just remember being pregnant and marveling at the hugeness of my body, and looking in the mirror from all angles. It’s something you do privately. I said, “You know, when Alex comes in, let’s start the scene where she’s at the mirror and that’s why she’s feeling insecure.” We [had] a real pregnant lady double do it.
Q: How did you get back into shape with such a busy schedule?
Lopez: It’s hard. The first few pounds drop off really fast, and then you’re stuck with those last 10-20 pounds. And then, you’ve really got to get disciplined. You’ve got to diet and do the exercise. You just have to. I knew I had the movie coming. You really start having to think about those things because, being on camera, you have a responsibility to look good. If you don’t, you’ll hear about it.
Q: Besides this film you have an album coming out in a few months.
Lopez: We’re aiming for summer. I’ve been working on it probably since last summer. I recently parted ways with my old record company and we have a new one. Everybody’s really happy with it. We just need to finish it.
Q: Now that you’re older, if you could give advice to yourself when you were 25, what would you say?
Lopez: Nothing. I wouldn’t change anything, honestly. I really love the direction my life has taken. I feel now like I’m 25 again and that it’s all starting over. With the babies, they just make you feel like your life is just beginning, probably because their life is just beginning and you so love them that you’re just like right there with them. It’s like, “Okay, this is the start of something awesome.” That’s how I feel in my life, and in my career, right now.