How Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Halftime’ Documentary Evolved to Tell a Bigger Story About Super Bowl Show, ‘Hustlers’ Oscar Snub

Jennifer Lopez title half time documentary, now streaming on Netflix, references not only how the film explores her preparations for her 2020 Super Bowl performance with Shakira, but also Lopez contemplating the second half of her life at the age of 50.

“I feel like I’m just getting started,” Lopez says in the film as she celebrates her 50th birthday. And later, she thinks about other things she hopes to accomplish in her life.

In fact, when producer Dave Broome first became involved in the film that would become half timemany of the most important moments in Lopez’s professional life over the past few years, which feature prominently in the film, hadn’t even happened.

Talk to The Hollywood Reporter before half timeWhen premiering at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival last week, Broome explained how filming began as Lopez “when she was coming to the end of her residency in Las Vegas wondering what was next in her life and we had no idea.”

Hustlers is not on the table,” Broome added. “And nothing going on in his life that we’ve seen in the last four years is something we thought we were filming.”

Like Lopez did Hustlers and embarked on an awards campaign for her role, which sadly ended with her not landing the Oscar nomination many had predicted, and as she was chosen to co-headline the 2020 Super Bowl with Shakira, “the whole movie changed,” Broome says.

“It was a constant fluidity [for four years]. You start with an overview and say to yourself, “here’s what we’re going to do.” And then all of a sudden, ‘What do you mean she’s now starring in this movie where she’s playing a stripper? What do you mean by having a potential Oscar nomination? What’s nice about making a documentary is that none of this is scripted, it’s real life. So when you follow it, you chase it and find and build the story as you go,” Broome said. “I can’t tell you how many modifications we had. It’s like, ‘OK, here’s the movie.’ “Oh wait, that’s not the movie because it just happened.” “Now here’s the movie.” ‘Oh wait, that’s not it.’

Lopez’s producing partner, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, shared from the Tribeca stage how the project grew into something bigger.

“What started as a run and a gun trying to capture Jennifer celebrating her 50th birthday on the It’s My Party tour started to turn into something else when my partner Benny Medina saw that there had a bigger story to tell,” she said introducing the film.

Oscar-nominated director Amanda Micheli was recruited in late 2019 to shape “hundreds and hundreds of hours of stock footage and personal footage” and “find the story that hadn’t been told”.

This process included approximately two years of modifications amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with Micheli preparing for interviews as the world shut down in March 2020. As COVID restrictions eased, interviews began with Lopez and her loved ones and Micheli says she was able to “find the story in the editing room”.

“It was truly an epic undertaking and for me it ended up being a labor of love,” she said.

The resulting film shows Lopez looking back on her life in an honest and vulnerable way, at times explaining how she had low self-esteem while being criticized.

“When you make a documentary and you start looking at your life in a different way, it’s an emotional process. It was like therapy honestly,” Micheli said of his interviews with Lopez. “I think that she really, in hindsight, admitted to times when her self-esteem wasn’t bulletproof and that was a surprise to me because I always saw her as so successful.”

[The following paragraphs contain spoilers from Halftime.]

While the film shows her crying in bed and moments of frustration, Lopez is shown dealing with the Oscars snub amid what appears to be Super Bowl rehearsals, as she tells her co-workers how she dreamed that she was nominated and woke up. checked and found out that was not true.

“The truth is, I really started thinking I was going to be nominated,” she says in the film. “I had hope because so many people were telling me I would be. And then it just didn’t happen.”

half time also delves into the political inspiration behind Lopez’s halftime performance.

At the start of the documentary, Lopez explains that although she was not “in politics”, she was living in the United States which she “didn’t recognize”. She seems particularly upset about the migrant families separated under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the Mexican border, adding that the high-profile images of children in cages really stuck with her.

“These motherfuckers are acting like everybody’s an immigrant trying to sneak into the country who’s a criminal, because that’s the narrative Trump has created that’s bullshit,” Lopez says. “Some of us have been here for years, and a lot of these people are just good people who believe in the American Dream – that’s all they want.”

The film also shows Lopez’s team bristling over some of the NFL’s decisions, including the league’s “superiors” wanting the cages removed the night before the Super Bowl and Lopez and Medina expressing their frustration with the league. by choosing two Latin women to headline the halftime show. show instead of a single performer. Lopez, in particular, is frustrated as she deals with the logistics of trying to cut her show down to six minutes for a 14-minute double-headliner show. It’s in this discussion with her musical director that she says having two Super Bowl performers was “the worst idea in the world.” She earlier told Shakira that if the NFL wanted two headliners, she should have given them 20 minutes.

[Spoilers end]

Broome, who has done several projects for Netflix, felt the streamer made sense for the project as a “global platform for… a global superstar.”

Still, he was impressed that Netflix didn’t immediately say yes to the prospect of a Jennifer Lopez documentary.

He said, “When I walked through the project in [to Netflix] and I said, ‘I have a documentary on Jennifer Lopez, what do you think?’ To their credit, they’re not like, ‘Oh yeah, here we are, Dave, let’s go.’ The question was, ‘Great, what is it? What is the story you are going to tell? How are you going to put it together? Who is the director? What do we say and what do we think we want to do?

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