"I'd had the babies, so I was waiting for the right thing and I knew I wanted to do a romantic comedy," says Lopez, who stars in The Back-Up Plan, opening April 23. "I felt like when I read the script, it was at the right place for me. ... I had so much experience to bring to the role. It was the kind of romantic comedy that didn't feel typical, and the script was so funny."
Lopez plays Zoe, a thirtysomething woman who decides to have a child on her own. But in a twist of rom-com fate, she meets Stan, a potential "Mr. Right," when she is on the way home from being artificially inseminated.
Lopez, a romantic-comedy veteran, says she isn't sure that she could have tackled parenthood on her own if her life had taken a different course.
"I know a couple of people, both people I work with and friends, who have done this," Lopez says. "I just don't know if I could do this, honestly. Now I know how much I rely on my partner. ... Knowing what single moms go through, I think it takes such an amazing person to do that. You get to a point in your life and you think about it, and I think it's a beautiful thing to be able to find the strength to do that on your own. That child will enrich your life. It's a beautiful thing to think that option is there."
That option creates some confusion for Stan, played by Alex O'Loughlin, and Zoe, as the two try to navigate the ups and downs of dating during the pregnancy.
"The question is, are you going to stick around and look after another man's kid?" O'Loughlin says. "The message in the film is don't let the pressures of society and all of the old things you have been told growing up get in your way."
O'Loughlin, who starred in the 2007 film August Rush, says the chance to work with Lopez was a big enticement for his first foray into the romantic-comedy genre. "Her attachment to the film minted a bunch of different things," he says. "I knew she had a big fan base and a bunch of different people would see the film."
As for working with Lopez, O'Loughlin went into filming with no expectations. "She's a big star, so you never know what to expect," O'Loughlin says. "But we had a great time. ... It was a ball on the set. She's a great person and very professional. She's very good at what she does."
Even so, the busy working mom makes sure to carve out time with Anthony.
"We still celebrate things like our birthdays and Valentine's Day," says Lopez, who acknowledges that these things can sometimes sneak up.
"I didn't even know it was Valentine's Day (this Sunday) until somebody said it earlier today!"
Behind the scene: "He's paralyzed. He's a little dog that I rescued named Nut," says Jennifer Lopez, who here is looking at pregnancy results.