Jennifer Lopez

Photographed by Norman Jean Roy

'Hard times that nobody knew about': Jennifer Lopez reflects on her rawest performance yet in 'This Is Me Now... A Love Story'

The singer opens up about owning the narrative about her journey of love, heartbreak and finding herself.

Jennifer Lopez has navigated various highs and lows that come with over two decades in the entertainment industry. As well as topping charts and receiving recognition for her music and acting roles, she’s faced another reality that often comes with being a woman in the public eye – the interest in her personal life (heartbreak and all). 

In her new film, This Is Me… Now: A Love Story, the 54-year-old takes the reins of her own narrative, sharing the songs from her new album, This Is Me...Now in a “cinematic odyssey, steeped in mythological storytelling and personal healing”. 

Featuring J-Lo’s rawest performance yet, the film pairs her standout vocals with spectacular visuals of an abstract world, drawing viewers into Lopez’s journey of love and finding herself. As for how much of the project is truly reflective of her real life, Lopez said in a press conference attended by Missing Perspectives that “there's parts of it that feel kind of very autobiographical, and then there's parts of it that are kind of meta, not quite in a way, not exactly what happened, but also the feeling of that is what happened”. 

“So there was different things about it that were super honest and true, and then there was things that were kind of more for license, taking license and really doing what was best for the entertainment and storytelling of the film, I think,” she said. “That mix of it, being personal but also being able to be fantastical, surreal, magical is what I think makes it really kind of moving, entertaining, and at the same time, super real.”

Jennifer Lopez in This Is Me Now... A Love Story.

Jennifer Lopez in This Is Me Now... A Love Story. Image: Supplied/Prime Video

At one point in the film, viewers will see Lopez as a construction worker at a "Heart Factory”, which the movie’s director Dave Meyers says was inspired by a candid conversation he and the singer had about her previous breakup with Ben Affleck. Lopez and Affleck – often referred to as ‘Bennifer’ by fans and the press – ended their engagement in January 2004 after dating for a few years. Both stars went on to pursue high-profile relationships with other people, before confirming a rekindling of their romance in July 2021, and then tying the knot a year later. 

“That stemmed from her telling me the pain that she's been in, specifically the pain that she went through when she broke up with Ben the first time,” said Meyers.

“There was a lot of honesty that was shared in that first meeting. So the Heart Factory became sort of a Titanic level meltdown, which was a metaphor for what she was giving me as far as her truth. So even the metaphor of sci-fi parts of the film stem from a scent of Jen's real story, the truth.” 

Despite Lopez’s years of experience in both the musical and screen world, creating this project was certainly new territory. Writing and self-funding such a deep and meaningful production is a huge undertaking, both professionally and personally. Like many women, she understandably doubted herself for some time. But Affleck helped reinforce to her how important this project would be in representing a new chapter in her artistic expression. 

“I was like, ‘I don't write. I don't do this.’ He was like, ‘You do. You write. You direct. You produce. You do all the things. You choreograph. Start stepping into that. Start owning that a little bit. Start owning a little bit of who you are,’” said Lopez. 

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez at the premiere of This Is Me Now... A Love Story.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez at the premiere of This Is Me Now... A Love Story. Photographed by January Images/Todd Williamson

The musician explains that the film has “ended kind of this 20-year journey about a lot of questions that I had, about love and being myself, a hopeless romantic, and what it means to really enter into a kind of healthier, more self-accepting phase for myself”. 

The film also shows “that there has been struggles and there has been hard times that nobody knew about, that I kept to myself.” 

Besides the breathtaking visuals and high production quality, J-Lo enlisted a star-studded cast of cameos in Fat Joe, Trevor Noah, Kim Petras, Post Malone, Keke Palmer, Sofia Vergara, Jenifer Lewis, Jay Shetty, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sadhguru, Tony Bellissimo, Derek Hough, Trevor Jackson, Paul Raci, Bella Gagliano, Brandon Delsid, Ashley Versher, Malcolm Kelner, Alix Angelis, Danielle Larracuente, Matthew Law and Ben Affleck.

“It was a challenge with the cameos that we have in the movie. We obviously had quite a few,” J-Lo reflected on the logistical issues that the team ran into. “Some came on the same day, some didn't. We had to make it work. We did whatever we could.” 

Despite the additional star-power, Lopez’s incredibly emotional performance ultimately steals the spotlight. We see the ups and downs that this influential woman has navigated over the years, and how public perception versus what happens behind closed doors has shaped her experiences of personal growth and self-love. 

This Is Me… Now: A Love Story will stream globally on Prime Video on February 16.