1998 was a more innocent time. A time before camera phones and Twitter, when celebrities didn’t calculate their every move, friendship, and seemingly spontaneous comment. A time when the ascent of a caramel woman with a big ol’ booty was enough to send shock waves through Hollywood. And, a time when Jennifer Lopez had so much swagger and confidence that she could hardly imagine flops like Gigli and Maid in Manhattan lay in her future.
No – in 1998, J. Lo was riding high on a string of successful movies, including the one that helped her become a household name, Selena. And the starlet on the rise was feeling herself so hard that she gave a now-legendary, no holds barred interview with Movieline that touched an all the taboo things celebrities never reveal (who makes what, who wants to have sex with who, and who is a talentless hack).
The interview is so infamous, that nearly 20 years later there are entire threads dedicated to dissecting it and reliving its glory (sample commenter: “part of me will always love that she gave not a single fuck about coming for Hollywood’s lily-white chosen ones of the day.”)
You all should really read the whole thing, but below we’ve pulled out some of her realest real talk moments:
On her own talent
When J.Lo was asked why she was thriving in 1998, she had no problem talking up her own talent. “Because I’m the best,” she said, laughing in delight at her own chutzpah. “I feel I can do anything–any kind of role. I’m fearless.”
And later: “I have the ‘stardom glow.'” (Four years later, anyone could have the stardom glow with the purchase of a bottle of JLo’s Glow perfume.)
But she also cops to working hard.
“I work really hard,” she added. “I’ll just get better as I go along because I’m open to getting better. If you have the goods, there’s nothing to be afraid of. If somebody doesn’t have the goods, they’re insecure. I don’t have that problem. I’m not the best actress that ever lived, but I know I’m pretty good.”
Realness score: 💯 💯
On playing hardball with Oliver Stone + his middle-aged sex life.
When J.Lo initially auditioned for famed director Oliver Stone, he kind of curved her, offending her so much that she vowed to never work for him.
But when Stone called her up years later to discuss an opportunity to act in U-Turn, she felt she had more leverage. “I have the upper hand here because I don’t care about this movie. I’ve got Selena and I’m getting a million dollars for it,” she told Movieline about her thought process.
To hear her tell it, it wasn’t long before Stone was eating out of the palm of her hand. “That’s the best way to deal with these bigwigs,” she explained. “I just went in there and we hit it off and I flirted with him, got tough with him and he just loved it.”
Also, apparently Oliver Stone loves to talk about his gross sex life. “He’s a wild man,” J.Lo recounts. “He doesn’t hide anything when it comes to sex in his life. He loves women, he has a lot of sex. He loves talking about how he sleeps with women. Like he’ll come onto the set going, ‘Aggghh, I was up fucking until four in the morning until I passed out.'”
[Reminder: Oliver Stone would have already been 50 at the time J.Lo worked with him on U-Turn. 😷]
Realness score: 💯 💯 💯
On why she deserved more money for 'Out of Sight'
This year, Jennifer Lawrence made headlines after writing an essay for Lenny Letter titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?,” which described the problematic gender pay gap in Hollywood.
But before there was a J.Law, there was a J.Lo. In this 1998 Moveline interview, Lopez was already bluntly and publicly raising the issue of disparity in pay. The piece describes her demand for $5 million for Out of Sight, (a sum it characterizes as “flat-out outrageous”), while glossing over the fact that her co-star George Clooney was making twice that amount.
But J.Lo kept it real. “I think George Clooney’s getting $10 million for this movie,” she said. “[Universal] thought they were going to get me cheap from the beginning, but I kept telling my agent, ‘No, no, no! Keep asking!’ When my agent called me saying, ‘What should we say to them?’ I said, ‘Say, who’s going to break their ass to promote this movie while George is on ER? Say, Anaconda is now over $100 million worldwide and why do you think girls between 18 and 25 went to see it more than any other action movies–because of Ice Cube?'”
The studio was trying to lowball her, but J.Lo insisted on standing up for herself.
“People don’t believe it yet, but right now I’m very underpaid.”
Realness score: 💰 💰 💰 💰
On Salma Hayek
J.Lo was not too impressed with Salma Hayek saying that she could have been in Selena. “We’re in two different realms,” she said. “She’s a sexy bombshell and those are the kinds of roles she does. I do all kinds of different things. It makes me laugh when she says she got offered Selena, which was an outright lie. If that’s what she does to get herself publicity, then that’s her thing. Columbia offered me the choice of Fools Rush In or Anaconda, but I chose the fun B-movie because the Fools script wasn’t strong enough.”
Realness score: 💥💥💥 💥
On Cameron Diaz
“A lucky model who’s been given a lot of opportunities I just wish she would have done more with,” she said. “She’s beautiful and has a great presence, though, and in My Best Friend’s Wedding, I thought, ‘When directed, she can be good.'”
Realness score: 💯 💯
On Gwyneth Paltrow
“Tell me what she’s been in? I swear to God, I don’t remember anything she was in,” J.Lo said. “Some people get hot by association. I heard more about her and Brad Pitt than I ever heard about her work.”
A year later, Paltrow would go on to win an Academy Award.
Realness score: 🙀 🙀 🙀 🙀 🙀
“Do I think she’s a great performer? Yeah. Do I think she’s a great actress? No,” she said. “Acting is what I do, so I’m harder on people when they say, ‘Oh, I can do that–I can act.’ I’m like, ‘Hey, don’t spit on my craft.'”
Wonder what Madonna said when J.Lo started singing…
Realness score: 💃 💃 💃 💃
On Claire Danes
“I feel like I see a lot of the same thing with every character she does. She’s not that way in U-Turn, though.”
Realness Score: 😴
On Winona Ryder
“I was never a big fan of hers. In Hollywood she’s revered, she gets nominated for Oscars, but I’ve never heard anyone in the public or among my friends say, ‘Oh, I love her.'”
Realness Score: 💅💅💅
On Wesley Snipes' thirst
J.Lo also had no problem dishing about the men who hit on her. Woody Harrelson tried to get it, and apparently earned the nickname of “world’s horniest anteater,” but it was Wesley Snipes who couldn’t take a hint.
“But Wesley–even though I had a boyfriend at the time–went full court press,” she said. “He was flirting with me–you always flirt with your costars, it’s harmless–then he just started getting a little more serious. He would invite us all out together and then at the end of the night, he’d drop me off last and try to kiss me. I’d be like, ‘Wesley, please, I’m not interested in you like that.'”
After that, Snipes didn’t talk to her for two months, and J.Lo thought he was such an asshole for that.
“Actors are used to getting way and to treating women like objects,” she said. “They’re so used to hearing the word ‘Yes.’ Now, I suppose Wesley will call me going, ‘You bitch! How dare you? I didn’t like you.’ It’s time for the truth to come out!”
Realness score: 💁 💁 💁 💁 💁
On her shit list.
J.Lo is not someone you want to cross. “There are certain people that are marked for death already,” she said. “I have my little list of journalists that have treated me unfairly. Like, I was totally happy, totally confident with my work in Selena, but out of the 700 reviews–and I read every single one–I can quote the one who said, ‘The one thing you don’t do when you walk out of this movie is say, ‘Who’s that girl?’ I was like, ‘You lying bitch!’
When another person from that same magazine came up to me, the first thing I said to her was, ‘You tell that other bitch that writes for your magazine that I’m never talking with her again.’ I definitely have my list of people that are going to get their justice.”
Realness score: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥