We don’t think of J.Lo as someone who scares easy. After all, she’s performing at the Super Bowl this year, walked a Versace runway two months ago, and, apparently, “wears the pants” in her and A.Rod’s relationship. But according to the woman herself, Jennifer Lopez was “actually terrified” filming that Hustlers pole dance (if you haven’t seen it: run to your nearest theater). So, what made this scene so scary to shoot?
On an episode of Close Up with the Hollywood Reporter, the Second Act star got real about what it was like behind the scenes that day. “I was actually terrified to do that opening number,” Lopez confides. “Which I suggested, of course. So it was my fault that I was there to begin with, it wasn’t written in the script! It just said, ‘Ramona finishes a final flourish and then me and Destiny meet.’ And I was like, ‘no, she’s the moneymaker at the club’… she has to show why.”
So, Lopez boldly insisted on adding an extended dance sequence to the opening of the movie. “In my mind, I was like, ‘it’s gonna be scary,'” she says, laughing. “But then when I was there, and I have the dental floss on, and I’m out there in a way I’ve never been…it was so scary. It was so terrifying… for the first time in years, my heart’s beating out of my chest and [I’m] going, ‘oh my god, I’m really nervous, I’m really scared.’ And I wasn’t smiling like I am now!”
The experience may have been terrifying — but anyone who’s seen Hustlers knows that scene was a key part of what made Lopez’s character so powerful, and the movie so exciting to watch all around. And Lopez has always been about pushing boundaries, whether her own or those she sees around her.
“When I first started, one of the things that I wanted to do — because I was Puerto Rican, Latina — was that I wanted to be in romantic comedies,” Lopez recalls later in the episode. “I felt like all the women in romantic comedies always looked the same way…I remember thinking I need to be the lead in a romantic comedy. I need to do that. I have to do that.”
Years later, Lopez has proven she can do whatever she sets her mind to. And if it frightens her — well, maybe that just means it’s a risk worth taking.