The Back-up Plan is a romantic comedy centered on a woman who conceives twins through artificial insemination, only to meet the man of her dreams on the very same day. However, it isn't your typical romantic comedy, says director, Alan Poul. "The thing that I love about Kate [Angelo's] script is that the movie manages to stay squarely in the realm of the contemporary romantic comedy, meaning that it pushes the boundaries of taste sometimes, there's a few elements of crudity in the humor, but it also [has] a beautiful, classic romantic comedy shape."
The contemporary elements of the film also attracted Lopez to the film. "That's what I really liked about it. It had a very modern voice, it seemed very up-to-date and I think that's very important for romantic comedies- That they do deal with issues [and] that it doesn't feel like it's a story from 20 years ago, which is what some romantic comedies can be like," she explains. "We are so used to seeing men with the commitment issues and they're afraid, and God they are gonna get tied down, and you know, here's a woman who has her own business and some money in the bank and you know, is actually better off, in a sense, than her counterpart, and that, actually was very interesting to me."
The film also depicts issues of commitment, to which Lopez says, "it's funny, because Zoe and I are so opposite. She was so comfortable being alone, having lost her parents so young. I'm so uncomfortable being alone. We were total opposites. In a sense it made me admire this person and I loved playing her, because I envy people like this in that sense. But that was also her crutch, you know what I mean? Her kind of, big flaw; that she was so afraid to let anybody into her life. She was going to let something great pass her by, or subconsciously destroy it. That's what she tries to do in the movie a little bit."
The easy chemistry between Lopez and her leading man, Alex O'Loughlin, has been a source of buzz for the movie. That chemistry came naturally for them. "We met before we did the film together. We had a meeting, had a cup of tea at her house in Long Island. Met with her family and, I mean, we realized that we were both cool people and we [got each other's] sense of humor. We made sure to see if we could spend a bunch of time together and not, like, kill each other," says O'Loughlin. "The thing is," he continues, "to have a friend and a comrade as your co-star, especially in a film, in a romantic comedy, is really important. It gives you the room...it's easy to give yourself and the other [person] permission to play. I actually learned a lot about comedy and romantic comedies from Jennifer."
The Back-up Plan is Lopez's first film in three years, and as a result, many consider it her "comeback film". When asked about this, she responds, "I don't really think of it that way. I was just at home on maternity leave, working and making music and now my first movie is coming out since... you know, I was fat," she says, laughing. "So that's that."
Lopez, now a mom of two-year old twins Emme and Max, believes her kids have made her a better actress. "I knew that was happening while it was happening, because my life and the way I felt about life, and the way I felt about my children, was so deep and profound, and it was the first time I felt anything like that. I knew that, as an artist, that it was gonna make a huge difference in everything that I did. And when I was [doing] the movie, I really felt the growth of myself as a human being. As a person."
When it came time to resume her work, it was only natural for Lopez to choose a film like this one. "It was just time for me to do a movie again, I think, and I just love romantic comedies. It was the first thing that I wanted to do [going] back so we started looking for one and this one came up and it was just perfect. You know, throughout my career I have always felt like certain things come to me at the right time and when I look at the work that I have done it's always kind of indicative at where I was in my life at the moment. And this was the same thing, it was just very serendipitous that it happened this way. It was perfect."
Though Lopez was ready to get back to work, she still struggles when it's time to leave the twins at home. "They know when I start putting on hair and makeup and getting dressed...they're like, â€˜she's going somewhere,'" she says, laughing. "Sometimes they'll come with me and they'll know that too, â€˜cause they're getting dressed and sometimes they're not. So, I think they're starting to put all that together...It's hard [when I leave]. [They] come to the door and start yelling, â€˜No! Mommy, Mommy! Don't go'... That just started happening yesterday, and I'm like, this is tough. And I'm just gonna have to figure it out as I go along. I'm like (to the twins), â€˜I will be home and the sun will still be up!' Like trying to explain to them that it's not going to be that long! That it won't be night time"
Inevitably, the question of whether or not she had a back-up plan for her own life comes up. Unlike her character in the movie, Lopez insists she did not have one. "I have so much respect for single moms or anybody who, you know, finds themselves as a single mother. But to even choose to be a single mother is just so courageous to me. It is such a hard job to raise a child. And to be everything to that child without a partner, I think is just admirable, and courageous, and brave, and every other valiant word I can think of. I don't know if I could do it on my own. I really don't."
In addition to motherhood, and The Back-up Plan, Lopez is also working on her upcoming album. Despite switching labels, Lopez has not abandoned her original album concept. Lopez says, "I'm going to call it Love?, because I just feel like it's an endlessly fascinating topic that all my albums have been about. It's still very confusing to me and so I explore that on this album, probably more than my other albums." Lopez will work with her new label, Def Jam, to finish the album. She says, "I recently parted ways with my old record company and we have a new one, so you know, they are gonna get involved with it. They've heard what I've been working on already. Everybody is really happy with it. We just need to finish it."
Though there's a solid concept, "[The album] hasn't taken its full shape, yet," she says. "I mean, there's a real base of material that really goes with that concept and then there's gonna be stuff that we create now, that I don't even know what it's gonna be."
Love?, scheduled to hit stores this summer, will feature a variety of influences like Lopez's previous albums. "It's gonna be that combination of, like, dance and a little bit of street, and a little bit of hip hop, and a little bit of R&B and just all of those influences that I grew up with and that my music has always had, you know. My albums if you [listen] from the first one to the last one, it always has a few ballads and then there's a few great dance cuts and then, you know, kinda mid-tempos," she says.
Lopez performed two songs that will likely end up on Love?, "Starting Over" and "Until it Beats No More", this past February on "Saturday Night Live". Another song that could end up on the album is a song that she wrote for her twins. "I wrote a song for the babies, I don't know that I'm going to put it on the album, [though]".
In addition to her English music, Lopez is also going to record an all new Spanish album. "I'm going to start working on a new Spanish album, probably in about a month, as well. Probably right as I finish the other one. I'll put [Love?] out this year and we'll ride that out and probably do the Spanish album for release next year."
While Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony have often worked together in the past, don't expect to hear her on Anthony's upcoming album, Iconos. "We didn't duet on this one. We are going solo. He is doing his thing and I'm doing my thing. We had our moment in our 3rd or 4th year married where we did everything together - El Cantante, we did the tour, we made all the music together, he produced my album, and you know, that was a beautiful time for us and we really enjoyed that, but I think we both kinda subconsciously said, it's time for us, we have a responsibility to our own individual fans, and we have to go off and do our own thing." But that doesn't mean they no longer support each other. Lopez went on to gush, "You guys are gonna love his new album. It's absolutely brilliant."
But first, it's time for The Back-up Plan - in theaters April 23rd.
That's not all we have for you guys! Stay tuned, as we will be posting more in the coming weeks, including a HUGE surprise you won't want to miss!