Jennifer Lopez is into guilty pleasures. And we don’t mean her latest film, the steamy thriller “The Boy Next Door,” where the 45-year-old plays as an English teacher who succumbs to the advances of her neighbor’s hot young nephew (Ryan Guzman). As you can imagine, it doesn’t go very well from there.
“I prefer romantic comedies,” says the actress who has starred in films less fraught with terror such as “The Wedding Planner,” “The Back-Up Plan” or others. “They’re just fun. You’re just seeing how silly you can make things. They’re romantic and I’m a hopeless romantic as well.”
That’s not to say the Golden Globe nominee, who’s also a successful pop star, doesn’t push herself creatively. “Being more dramatic or being more tough or being more vulnerable, it’s all the same. It’s all about trying to find the reality in the moment, making it real. All of a sudden I have this high-pitched scream that I’ve never heard myself do, and that’s when I know I’m tapping into something real.”
Another challenge of the role was the extremely intimate sex scene that sets the craziness of the plot in motion. “Scenes like that are always uncomfortable,” she says. “It’s a very vulnerable position to be in. It’s not something you ever get used to as an actress.”
Comfort level can’t always be the priority, though, especially when so much of the story depends on such a steamy scene. “This was a very important scene in this film. If that scene didn’t work — if it wasn’t intense, passionate, real enough — then the rest of the movie doesn’t make any sense because that’s the moment that they share together.”
“The Boy Next Door” also gave Lopez some new learning experiences into independent filmmaking. “We got it made on a micro-budget of $4 million in 25 days,” she reveals. “I never had done a film like that in my career. But it was very liberating as an artist because it made me realize, I can make whatever movie I want like this. It’s the material that really matters, like, ‘Do I feel like doing this at this time?’ and not waiting for a big studio to green-light something or hire you as an actress. It really is very empowering.”
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