Jennifer Lopez’s Breakup With Ben Affleck Inspired a Scene in New Movie, Says Director

Jennifer Lopez’s new musical film “This Is Me…Now: A Love Story” contains many allusions to Ben Affleck, including a cameo from the actor himself.

In a dystopian dream sequence, Lopez portrays a gritty worker in a “heart factory.” Suddenly, an alarm blares, warning the employees of an impending catastrophe: the massive mechanical heart at the factory’s center is failing.

According to director Dave Meyers, the idea stemmed from an emotional conversation with Lopez.

When the duo began to conceptualize the film, Lopez confided in Meyers about splitting from Affleck in her early 20s and the toll it exacted. (She went through a divorce and another broken engagement before reuniting with Affleck nearly two decades later.)

“Their first breakup was very, very heavy on her,” Meyers told Business Insider. “She opened up more than I thought she would about what that was for her, and I could see that there’s a lot of pain there still.”

jennifer lopez ben affleck

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend the “Gigli” premiere in 2003.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The scene is action-packed, elaborate, and utterly melodramatic. Meyers said that effect was intentional; he took cues from films like “Titanic” and “Howl’s Moving Castle,” visualizing heartbreak as a “life or death” situation.

“This heartbreak that she went through is very real, and how do we tell an audience that could give a shit?” Meyers explained. “A Jen fan would give a shit, but I mean a calloused audience that would be like, ‘Oh, who cares. You’ve got it all,’ kind of thing. How do we show the stakes and the magnitude and the volume of what heartbreak feels like for everyone, but also for her?”

The factory doubles as a performance venue for “Hearts and Flowers,” the ninth track on Lopez’s companion album “This Is Me…Now.”

In the lyrics, she refers to herself as a “wounded soldier,” recounting her lifelong quest for love against the backdrop of militaristic drums.

Symbolically, Lopez’s character in the film is determined to fix the broken heart. She suits up and climbs inside the machine, buffeted by flames and explosions.

“Jen’s got this raw toughness to her, and so I wanted to figure out how to exploit that,” Meyers said. “I just thought, ‘She would be someone who would work her fucking ass off to make sure the heart doesn’t die,’ and she has in real life.”

jlo this is me now trailer heart factory 2

The “heart factory” in “This Is Me…Now: A Love Story.”
Prime Video/YouTube

During a recent interview with Variety, Lopez was candid about her challenging history with Affleck.

The pair met in 2001 on the set of “Gigli” and quickly became a tabloid fixation. After two years together, they broke up mere days before their wedding date, citing “excessive media attention.”

“Our relationship crumbled under the weight of the pressure,” Lopez told Variety. “We lost a sense of ourselves, and we needed to separate because we didn’t know how to survive it. I had to figure myself out, and he had to figure himself out.” 

The movie follows Lopez in the wake of their breakup. Her character is portrayed as a hopeless romantic with a toxic dating pattern.

After a series of exes and romantic blunders, she connects with other self-described “love addicts” and embarks on a journey of self-discovery, which leads her back to Affleck.

Though Affleck barely appears in the movie, his influence is plainly felt. In fact, Lopez used love letters he’d sent her as inspiration for the album. (His influence is also made explicit with the seventh track, “Dear Ben Pt. II,” a sequel to her 2002 song “Dear Ben.”)

“I’ve been on this journey, and I’ve been trying to figure it out,” Lopez told Variety. “Now I feel like because Ben and I have rediscovered each other — and now that we’re married — I have something to offer. This is the defining piece of work that’s going to close that chapter so I can move on to the next part of my life.”  

“This Is Me…Now: A Love Story” is available to stream on Prime Video.

Previous post How to watch the rescheduled Daytona 500 today: Starting time, lineup, livestream options, more
NYU Langone Health opening state-of-the-art ambulatory care center in Florida Next post NYU Langone Health opening state-of-the-art ambulatory care center in Florida