J.Lo on Fighting the Hollywood Boys’ Club and Being Labeled a Diva

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Jennifer Lopez has been vocal about the sexism that prevails in Hollywood since at least her infamous 1998 Movieline interview. Though, she shamelessly dragged so many other actors by saying exactly what she thought of them, J.Lo also proudly explained that she refused to settle when it came to her paycheck. Starring alongside George Clooney in Out of Sight, she argued that she deserved to make at least $2 million – twenty percent of George’s paycheck.

“[Universal] thought they were going to get me cheap from the beginning, but I kept telling my agent, ‘No, no, no! Keep asking!'” she said. “When y 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?'”

While some outlets touted her a feminist hero for her recent “Ain’t Your Mama” music video, it left something to be desired – namely that the video hardly had “any relevance to contemporary discussions of gender politics,” as Slate put it. Despite that misstep, in a new roundtable discussion for Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter she came back with something that’s much more in line with 1998 J.Lo.

Joined by Kerry Washington, Julianna Margulies, Sarah Paulson, Kirsten Dunst, Regina King, and Constance Zimmer, the women talked about their frustrations within the Hollywood system and career highlights for THR’s TV show, as well as its May 27 issue. Here are five interesting things J.Lo said:

Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter returns with new episodes on June 26 on SundanceTV. J.Lo’s episode airs May 30.


On why she took on 'Shades of Blue' despite her busy schedule:

“Because I hadn’t seen anything in a long time where I felt like I was really doing something acting wise, you know. And I had a lot of things going on at the time, and I’m a mom. So I felt like taking this on, I already had like two full-time jobs, and I was taking on a third full-time job. So it was a big consideration… It was very scary to think, ‘OK, let me put this into my schedule.’ But then I thought, ‘There’s nothing film wise that is as exciting as this will be for me as an artist and as an actress.'”


On rejecting the diva label:

“I got a moniker of being ‘the diva,’ which I never felt I deserved — which I don’t deserve — because I’ve always been a hard worker, on time, doing what I’m supposed to do, and getting that label because you reach a certain amount of success …”


On having reservations about speaking out:

“Or even sometimes I felt crippled to voice my opinion, especially because certain directors and the boys’ club that they form can make you feel like, ‘Oh, I can’t say anything.’ I was always fascinated by how I could see [a man] being late or being belligerent to a crew and it being totally acceptable; meanwhile, I’d show up 15 minutes late and be berated. And you watch this happen over and over and over again. Like, we’re not allowed to have certain opinions or even be passionate about something, or they’ll be like, ‘God, she’s really difficult.’ It’s like, ‘Am I? Am I difficult because I care?'”


On her first big splurge:

“I was driving a Honda hatchback that Keenen Ivory Wayans had given me. I had been driving it on every audition and to everything, and I think I just got a regular series, I think, and I bought a car. I bought a Mercedes, and it was a huge deal. And it was funny cause he had passed it down to Shawn, his brother, and then to me.”


On the kinds of roles she won't take:

“It’s the opposite for me once I had kids. In videos and things that I do, I’m very sexy and wear little clothes, but the truth is, when it comes to acting, I did it earlier in my career and now I just don’t feel sometimes that you have to do it. I’ve changed in that sense.”