Whether you like it because you love the music, you find the story riveting, or you’re a fan of Jennifer Lopez, 1997’s “Selena” is one of those movies that has something for everyone..
Selena Quintanilla’s meteoric music career was tragically cut short when she was killed by her former fan club president at the age of 23. She was the first Latin artist to debut atop the Billboard 200 with her posthumous album “Dreaming of You.”
Before she broke into acting, Jennifer Lopez got her start in the entertainment industry as a professional dancer, and she used those skills to mimic Selena’s movements, down to small hand gestures, during the performance scenes.
The iconic purple jumpsuit
Modern-day celebrities are vocal about how much they love Selena Quintanilla -- both Kim Kardashian and Demi Lovato (to name a few) have donned a purple jumpsuit on Halloween like Selena. Quintanilla’s Astrodome performance is one of the key moments in the movie and we wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of the costume inspiration for the starlets.
A family affair
Fans of the movie already know just how close the Quintanilla family is: Selena’s siblings and husband were in her band Los Dinos, her father was her manager, and her mother made all of the clothes they wore in their performances. But did you know they were also involved in the making of the movie?
Her husband, Chris Perez, even played himself – kind of. During a close-up scene in which the character based on him shreds on a guitar, Perez stepped in. The actor who was playing him, Jon Seda, didn’t have Perez’s guitar chops, so the hands you see in that part of the movie are Perez's, not Seda's, reports Buzzfeed.
A return to the story
“Selena: The Series” on Netflix, which primarily tells the story of Selena's life prior to achieving stardom, not only has the blessing of the Quintanilla family and Jennifer Lopez, it also features an actor from “Selena”!
Seidy Lopez, who played Selena’s friend in the movie (you can spot her in the shopping mall scene before the GRAMMY Awards) now plays the role of Selena’s mother, Marcella, on the popular TV show.
While JLo is now a very successful musician in her own right, she only sang three words in all of “Selena.” With the exception of slowly crooning “como la flor” during the Monterrey concert scene, Lopez lipsynced Quintanilla’s songs throughout the movie.
34,000 fans appeared in the movie
The Astrodome scene in “Selena” isn’t quite what it seems – it was actually filmed at the San Antonio Alamodome. What is authentic, however, are the over 34,000 Selena fans in the audience who volunteered to fill the venue for free, reports CinemaBlend.
Jennifer Lopez and the Quintanillas
To prepare for her role as Selena, JLo spent considerable amounts of time with the Quintanilla family and even went as far as to move in with Suzette, Selena’s sister, to get a better understanding of who she was going to play, reports E!.
At the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Lopez performed a medley of several of Selena’s biggest hits backed by Los Dinos to honor the woman that brought them all together.