Jennifer Lopez continues to plow forward with her booming film career. The pop diva is said to be in talks to star alongside Ben Affleck in writer/director Kevin Smith’s “Jersey Girl.”
A publicist for Lopez confirmed that the “Enough” star is definitely in negotiations for the film, which has long had Affleck attached. If she does in fact end up in the movie, “Jersey Girl” will be J. Lo’s second pairing with the “Changing Lanes” actor.
The two highly prolific stars’ first onscreen match-up, “Gigli,” just finished shooting a couple of months ago. Directed by Martin Brest (“Beverly Hills Cop”), “Gigli” is a dramatic comedy with Affleck in the title role as a hit man who involves Lopez in a kidnapping, believing her, perhaps mistakenly, to be in the same line of work as himself.
“Jersey Girl” is about a man whose life is turned upside down by a woman and her 6-year-old daughter. It will be the first movie from Kevin Smith set outside of the “View Askew Universe” established with 1994 indie cult hit “Clerks” and further expounded upon by “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” — often (however erroneously) referred to as the “New Jersey Trilogy.”
Though the movie will take place outside of his previous films’ continuity, many Smith alumni are expected to appear, including George Carlin and possibly Jason “Jay” Mewes. “Jersey Girl” is thought to be at least loosely based on Smith’s own experiences as father of Harley Quinn Smith, who briefly appeared in 2001’s “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and is named after a “Batman”-related character.
Smith — a huge comic book fan — has scripted comics starring Green Arrow, whose alter ego is named Ollie, which also happens to be the name of Ben Affleck’s character in “Jersey Girl.” The pop culture relationship between Smith and Affleck is as densely convoluted as any long-running comic book’s plot line.
Affleck has appeared in several of Smith’s films: as predatory Shannon in “Mallrats,” soul-searching Holden in “Chasing Amy,” conflicted angel Bartleby in “Dogma” — even as himself in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” Smith, along with his View Askew production company associate, Scott Mosier (who is producing “Jersey Girl”), co-executive produced Affleck’s “Good Will Hunting,” which earned the actor an Oscar nod for screenwriting.
In 1998, Smith wrote several issues of Marvel’s “Daredevil” comic series, later collected into a trade paperback with an introduction penned by longtime Daredevil fan Ben Affleck. During a scene in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” bumbling Bob (played by Smith) runs past a costumed Daredevil fighting ninjas on a studio lot. And now, of course, Affleck is playing Daredevil in a real-life movie, for which Smith recently shot a cameo.
In addition to “Jersey Girl,” Kevin Smith has acquired the rights to develop the series of “Fletch” novels used as source material for two Chevy Chase movies in the ’80s. Ben Affleck was at one time rumored to star, though Jason Lee, himself a player in four prior Smith films, has since been attached.
Nevertheless, Affleck has plenty else to keep him occupied. “Changing Lanes” is still in theaters, “The Sum of All Fears” is due soon, “Gigli” just wrapped and “Daredevil” is still moving along. When that’s finished, there’s “Jersey Girl” to do and a picture called “Surviving Christmas” with his name on it.
Jennifer Lopez is no stranger to an overflowing date book herself, with “The Chambermaid” now shooting in New York and her very own “Carmen” remake in development (see “Movie House: J. Lo Making Modern Version Of ’Carmen’ “ ).