NEW YORK – In February 2020, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira stunned with a marathon Super Bowl halftime show, a marriage contest flawed with politics.
But in “Halftime,” a new documentary that opened the annual Tribeca Festival on Wednesday, Lopez reveals it was barely smooth sailing in the months and weeks leading up to the performance.
In candid interviews and fly-on-the-wall footage captured by director Amanda Micheli in the summer of 2019, Lopez tried to keep quiet about speculation that she was “at the forefront” to headline the halftime show. So when the announcement comes that she will be joining Shakira in September, Lopez’s team calls it a bit against both women, suggesting that the NFL doesn’t believe Latinas can command the world’s biggest stage singles. .
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Lopez, to be clear, doesn’t blame Shakira, and the two actors are shown collaborating and supporting each other throughout the documentary. But Lopez doesn’t hold back about the NFL.
“If this was going to be a double headliner, they should have given us 20 (active) minutes,” she tells Shakira over the phone, after agreeing to split her 12-minute performance time equally. .
Later in the film, Lopez attempts to hash her Super Bowl set list with her music director, expressing frustration at how many songs she can realistically do in the six minutes allotted to her.
“It’s the worst idea in the world to have two people do the Super Bowl,” Lopez says.
At the beginning of the documentary, the singer gets emotional discussing former President Donald Trump and his anti-immigration policies, explaining how his dangerous rhetoric inspired him to make a statement with his Super Bowl performance.
During the halftime show, more than a dozen children appeared in light-up cages on the soccer field, after which they walked out to sing Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” They were joined moments later by López, draped in a winged Puerto Rican flag.
NFL higher-ups worried that Cage would be “too political”, and encouraged him to lose the giant Venus symbol for “woman” on stage, saying it was heavy-handed. But despite pressure from the NFL to make changes a few hours before Showtime, Lopez held her own on both issues.
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Aside from the Super Bowl, “Halftime” takes a dismal look at Lopez’s unsuccessful bid for her first Oscar nomination, after receiving career-best reviews for her megawatt performance in the 2019 stripper drama “Hustlers.”
The film ends with her performance at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, which means it doesn’t touch on her breakup from Alex Rodriguez nor her reunion with Ben Affleck last year. (However, Affleck appears in a brief talking-head interview about how Lopez confronted tabloid mockery and negative press.)
“We had no ground rules about off limits,” Micheli told USA TODAY on the red carpet ahead of Wednesday’s premiere. “She was very open to these broad conversations with me and didn’t edit herself at all. For me personally, I wasn’t interested in having an exposure on Jennifer’s relationships, but it was important that we at least Less touch on that. I think we found the right balance.”
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“Halftime” was performed at the historic United Palace Theater in Washington Heights, Manhattan, where Lopez grew up in the Bronx. It was a packed affair compared to last year’s scaled down Tribeca Festival, which mainly took place due to COVID-19 precautions.
“It’s great,” Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro said of his return to celebration. “I think everyone just wants to get out (of the house).”
The Tribeca Festival runs through June 19 with virtual and in-person events. “Halftime,” meanwhile, streams on Netflix on June 14.