Television

Jennifer Lopez Talks ‘World of Dance’ and Shooting ‘Marry Me’ in Quarantine

Jennifer Lopez has been spending time in quarantine with her kids and fiancé Alex Rodriguez.

But that doesn’t mean she’s not working. Not only is she gearing up for the Season 4 premiere of NBC’s “World of Dance” on May 26, but she’s also finishing “Marry Me,” her upcoming romantic comedy in which she plays a pop star who is left at the alter by her famous rocker husband-to-be (Maluma) just before they’re about to get hitched at Madison Square Garden. Instead, she marries a stranger (Owen Wilson) who she plucks from the crowd.

Lopez and Maluma actually did pick-up shots in quarantine. “It was me at home and Maluma in Colombia. We weren’t sure how it was going to work out,” Lopez said. “Someone came in and set up a camera and lights, and then left because of social distancing. We had a Zoom call. I start doing the scene with Maluma and we’re hearing echoers and we’re all like, ‘Everyone has to mute.’ (Laughs) We were just figuring it out as we go. We got through the scene. It’s going to be in the movie. It’s not the ideal way of filmmaking, but we got it done.”

They’re currently in post-production. “We were supposed to come out in the fall, but we don’t know if that will happen,” Lopez said.

Variety caught up with Lopez on Friday morning from her home in New York City.

I watched the first episode of the new season of “World of Dance.” I know this happens all the time, but how do you tell contestants, “No?” Does it break your heart every time?

It does. It never gets easy. Some people make it and some people don’t. It’s hard especially when they go in there believing so much they belong on the show and we have to say, “You know what, it’s not there.” It’s tough.

You had to shoot the finale without an audience because of COVID-19, right?

I knew after the Super Bowl, I was going right into “World of Dance” and right after “World of Dance,” I was going to take a break. It was Tuesday or Wednesday and we were supposed to be finishing on Sunday, but they came to us and said, “We have to finish by Friday. The building is closing down.” I was like, “What?” It was that week when things got really real. Then they said, “We’re going to do the finale without an audience.” It was all so new. We did the finale and then I got on a plane and came home and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

How hard was it to do the finale without an audience? The energy must have been so different.

I found it very tough. We were trying our best to try to make it what it should have been for those people who fought so hard to get there without an audience cheering them on and all that energy of all those people. It was hard. But still, they won $1 million so that’s all good. There’s still happiness.

When will you feel safe to go back to working on sets?

We all have to think about safety first. You don’t want to create a situation where a bunch of people could get sick or die. I think there are just going to have to be big procedures in place, whether it’s testing everybody before they get on a project and then tests throughout production. … I think crews for a while will be much smaller than they usually are. But this is just me speculating because I have no idea. I know studios are working hard, TV and movies, on how to get back to work because so many people are out of work.

Your daughter Emme is now an author. [In September, Crown Books for Young Readers is publishing her first book, “Lord Help Me,” about her daily prayers, which will also benefit the protection of sloths.]

She started writing the book a couple of years ago with her nanny, who takes care of her and drives her to school and stuff. And she wanted to save the sloths and to teach people how to pray for them. And they said, “I think we can do a book.” So I helped them do that. You can pre-order it right now. (Laughs).

When is her album coming out?
I don’t know. We don’t want to push her. The things that we have done are because she’s on tour with me so she comes out and sings for 30 seconds or the Super Bowl. That’s her with mommy. Believe it or not, she’s been offered a few big things with great people, but I’m not encouraging that right now. I think it’s nice to do things with mom. If she wants to pursue that when she’s older, she can. Right now, it’s about school, virtual school.

With everything you have going on, when would you have time to also own a baseball team? (Variety exclusively reported in April that Lopez and Rodriguez were trying to buy the New York Mets; they dropped their bid earlier this month, according to the New York Post.)

We have no comment on that right now. (Laughs)

I’m from Queens, so I was expecting you to go for the Yankees.

Hmmm. I don’t think the Yankees are for sale.

But if Jennifer Lopez wanted to buy them, maybe they’d just do it.

Oh, right! [George] Steinbrenner is just going to hand them over. No problem.

How are things coming along with “The Godmother,” your film about “Cocaine Godmother” Griselda Blanco?

We are in the re-writing stage on the script right now. We have a great writer and director, and we’ve been doing meetings on Zoom.

Reed Morano is directing. Why did you think she was right for this project?

She’s amazing. She’s a great shooter. … Story-wise, the conversations we have been having with Bill [Monahan], who is doing the next pass on the script, have been great. He’s taking Reed’s vision and making it what she thinks it should be. We’re all working together. We’re excited. We’re doing it with STX, who I did “Hustlers” with. So we’re getting it ready to go for as soon as we can shoot it.

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