At last, Jennifer Lopez’s long-awaited passion project This Is Me…Now: A Love Story hits Amazon Prime on Friday—and to call it a passion project seems to sort of undersell it. Lopez believes so much in this piece of art—called a “cinematic odyssey” and a “narrative driven, cinematic original film,” per The Hollywood Reporter—that she paid for the project herself. “Everybody thought I was crazy when I said I would do it,” Lopez said.
When financing fell through for the project, Lopez opened her wallet to make it happen, even though her longtime producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas admitted “I was terrified.”
Of the 65-minute film, Lopez said “We did have financing, and then that fell out. They pulled out at the last minute, and then it was that moment where you go, ‘Okay, do we just make a video, or do we go ahead and do this thing?’”
Lopez opted for full steam ahead. Though she was nervous, “I believe in her so much,” said Goldsmith-Thomas, who produces with Lopez through Nuyorican Prods. “She was open to anybody’s notes. She understood that she had to do it. She understood it was a fool’s errand to finance your own thing, and yet sometimes the fool is the genius because you’re following your heart, and this really is her heart.”
Goldsmith-Thomas told The Hollywood Reporter “it was Jennifer’s vision, and it was difficult to understand it,” she said. “It was difficult. Originally it was set up and then people didn’t really understand what it was as it was forming and reforming in her mind with Dave [Meyers, the filmmaker behind the movie].”
Lopez admitted that they went in over budget. “It was a challenging project in that way,” she said. “It’s like there could have never been enough money for the project. We didn’t have endless funds from a studio. This was a very independent project that I was self-financing. So it was very challenging producorial.” (Probably not shockingly, the piece never reveals exactly how much the project cost.)
In addition to Lopez, famous faces like Jane Fonda, Trevor Noah, Sofia Vergara, Keke Palmer, Post Malone, Jay Shetty, and many others make appearances—and, oh yeah, some guy named Ben Affleck, who, you know, inspired the whole work, just like he did with This Is Me…Then 20 years ago, during their first run as a couple. After the record This Is Me…Now was finished, a simple music video or two just wouldn’t do, Lopez said. “I didn’t think it was right to throw out a video and do the normal thing,” she said. “I wanted to do something really different with this.”
Lopez knew she didn’t want to just regurgitate the love story (x 2) of she and her now husband “because people know that story,” she said. “I wanted to do something different. So we embarked upon how to do that in a visual way with singing, dancing, and funny in life like way.”
Goldsmith-Thomas calls the film “Comedy and tragedy,” she said. “And she [Lopez] was compelled to do it. She was compelled. I’ve never known anyone like this, seen anyone like this, and all you could do as her partner and her friend was hang on.”
This Is Me…Now: A Love Story is out February 16, released in tandem with her first album in a decade. Despite hurdles, “I wanted to see this vision through,” Lopez said.
And so she did.