December 2002
Maid in Manhattan : What a Year! An Interview with Jennifer Lopez

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

Jennifer Lopez in Columbia's Maid In Manhattan - 2002Maid in Manhattan : What a Year! An Interview with Jennifer Lopez

It seems that every time Jennifer Lopez does something, itís huge thing as far as the media is concerned. Sometimes theyíre right. On the heels of her engagement to actor Ben Affleck, she just released another album ďThis Is MeÖTheĒ, which gave her the biggest debut in her career, and now she another film called ďMaid in ManhattanĒ coming out. In the fairy tale, she plays a maid whom falls for a popular senator. In an interview with blackfilm.com, she talked about her role in the film and the year sheís having so far.



WM: Do you think maids are really as persecuted as we see in this film?

JL: I donít think they are portrayed as persecuted as they are in this film, I just think that there is definitely something to be said for. Them kind of blending into the background. Just sort of having this invincible thing. As often as you stay in a hotel, you just go about your day, you have a lot on your mind, youíre busy, youíre running out, you have to make your appointment, and these people come in and they make it all right for you and you donít take notice. Most times we canít tell what our maids look like from the hotels we stay in. Itís just how it is.


WM: So did you gain a new appreciation for it?

JL: Absolutely. You have to when you do something like this. You always wind up learning.


Jennifer Lopez in Columbia's Maid In Manhattan - 2002 WM: Did you do a lot of research for this role?

JL: Itís funny. Itís seems like Iíve lived in hotels for the last seven years, but there are instructional videotape for each hotel where they show you how to fold the corners and how the towels should be hung and where everything goes in the room and how the suites are. Itís sort of militant. Itís actually kind of interesting.



WM: Was it interesting playing a mother again?

JL: I think I have a lot of maternal instincts. Iím a real caretaker with anybody in my life. Even though I donít have children, it wasnít that hard for me to understand what it is to love and care for somebody in a very deep way. Plus I had a great mom.


Tyler Posey and Jennifer Lopez in Columbia's Maid In Manhattan - 2002 WM: Did you enjoy the interaction with Ty (the kid)?

JL: I did. Heís really a smart kid. I know how difficult it is to act and how to concentrate and how to block everything out, but for him to sit there and do it was amazing. Most child actors just say the lines, without having an understanding. Ty would know whatís happening with the story and how to act out the scene. Heís really amazing.



WM: Would you consider this the most important year of your career?

JL: Up until now. Itís been interesting. I donít know. Itís been a busy year, a tough year, but a great year too.


Ralph Fiennes and Jennifer Lopez in Columbia's Maid In Manhattan - 2002 WM: On a personal level, what would be the lesson you learned from this year?

JL: For me, it was a year of growth. I really felt like I went through something and came out the other side and was actually the person I was supposed to be my whole life. Where you feel comfortable with who you are and accept yourself for all the things that you are and what your life is, and what it has become, and what that means, and the different things like that.



WM: Whatís your idea of romance?

JL: My idea of romance is commitment. Thatís tough in this day of age. Itís sort of like a gypsy life or the traveling salesman.


WM: Do you think romantic comedies like this set an unrealistic standard for relationships?

JL: No. I think it gives you the idea that you can be with the prince charming or the President of the United States. It doesnít matter who you are I think itís a good think.



WM: This film plays with romance in the public eye. How close to home did it feel for you?

JL: Well, I have had romances in the public eye before, but never, I think, to this degree. I know what itís like, so it was like a second nature thing to me. Thereís a funny line in the film that the audience will definitely get when they hear it. I might have had a false note in my performance when I said the line.


Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes in Columbia's Maid In Manhattan - 2002 WM: How do you survive that image?

JL: You just used to it. I think I went through my time where it was really strange and sort of surreal to me and now itís just part of my life. Knowing who you are and being okay with it is good. You learn to sort of take stock I all of the great things. Thatís part of the whole deal.



WM: How often do you visit the Bronx?

JL: I was just there recently. My mom still lives in Westchester and so do my niece and my nephew. I go up there all the time. But to the old neighborhood, the most time I spent there in the last few years is when we did this movie this past summer.


Jennifer Lopez in Columbia's Maid In Manhattan - 2002 WM: Is it a conscience decision to remember your roots through your films and music?

JL: Itís funny. I think people think itís a bit more calculated than it is. For 20 years, I lived in the Bronx. I grew up there, and Iím Puerto Rican. Thatís not going to change, and I just feel thatís going to manifest itself in everything I do. Itís a conscience that I have to put everything I do into this or that song. Whatever you do and who you are comes through. Your background manifests itself in that way. As unbiased you have to be, you still have that come through. Itís all you bring with you. For me, as an artist, that is always going to come through, in different kinds of ways. Sometimes it is going to be as overt as ďJenny From The BlockĒ and sometimes as subtle as something as one of my movies where just one little element of the character has the street smarts that I had when I was growing up because of where Iím from. Itís just going to be different like that.