25 Crazy Facts About ‘Selena’ You Probably Didn’t Know (Including One About Brownface)
Twenty-three years have passed since Tejano music legend, Selena Quintanilla-Perez’s death. The movie about her life and career came out just 2 years after her death and helped to solidify the continuation of her legacy.
Here’s a look at the top 25 facts you probably didn’t know about the movie!
1. The film was protested when it was announced Jennifer Lopez was taking on the role.
Selena’s fans began protesting the film once they learned that Jennifer Lopez was taking on the role of their beloved singer. Many thought that Lopez, a Puerto Rican from New York, was unfit to play the Mexican-American from Texas.
2. Abraham Quintanilla needed convincing when it came to portraying Selena’s relationship with Chris Perez.
Selena’s father didn’t want Selena’s younger fans to get the wrong idea about eloping. So, he initially pushed to have the scene of Selena and Chris’s marriage cut out.
3. Six other women gave J.Lo a run for her money.
Three women from the open call were selected and three other actresses including Salma Hayek and Bibi Gaytán were considered.
4. Jackie Guerra lied about her talents
Jackie Guera who played the role of Suzette, wanted the role so badly that she lied at her audition and said that she was an expert drummer. Suzette later gave her private lessons.
5. “Selena” almost became a victim of brownface.
CREDIT: D23M74 Selena – Ein Amerikanischer Traum Selena Pete Astudillo, Art Meza, Jennifer Lopez, Jacob Vargas *** Local Caption *** 1997 —
The film’s director had to fight to get Lopez the role of Selena. At the time, Warner Bros was considering a non-Latina actress to take on the role.
6. Jennifer Lopez lip-synched
Creators feared that fans would be upset if they saw Lopez singing the song on her own. So Lopez was coached to lip-synch instead.
7. Abraham Quintanilla didn’t want to show Selena’s murder.
The film which came out just two years after Selena’s death was likely a very hard project for Abraham to work on. He didn’t want to show his daughter’s death but the films’s director convinced him it was necessary.
8. Constance Marie could be Jennifer Lopez’s sister
Lopez and Marie play mother and daughter in the movie. But in real life Marie is only 4 years older than Selena.
9. Actually, there was a lot of age-skewing on set.
Lupe Ontiveros was 54-years old when she played Yolanda Saldivar. At the time of Selena’s death, Saldivar was actually only 34.
10. Salma Hayek turned down the role of Selena
Hayek was gearing up to play the role of Frida.
11. You’ve seen this cast together before.
Most of the film’s cast had starred together in the film “My Family.” That’s right, it wasn’t the first time Jennifer Lopez starred alongside Edward James Olmos, Jacob Vargas, Constance Marie, or Lupe Ontiveros.
12. Constance Marie wanted to be Selena.
Marie played the role of Selena’s mother in the movie. She originally auditioned to play the part of Selena.
13. Roles were flipped.
In “My Family,” Edward James Olmos and Constance Marie play the role of Jennifer Lopez and Jacob Vargas’s children.
14. Constance Marie was also extremely close in age to her other daughter in the movie.
Marie is just 46 years younger than Jackie Guerra who plays Suzette. In real life Suzette was 4 years older than her sister.
15. Jennifer Lopez did her best to do Selena’s accent.
Selena’s Southern accent wasn’t totally noticeable but fans knew it was there. Selena did her best to portray the singer’s Texan accent in the interview portions of the film.
16. Jennifer Lopez got really close with Selena’s family
CREDIT: Jennifer Lopez in “Selena”
To prepare, J.Lo lived with Suzette before shooting. The experience made the two closer and they’re still friends to this day.
17. The casting call got crazy
CREDIT: Selena / Warner Bros.
Over 20,000 girls turned up to audition to fill the role of Selena at different ages.
18. Jennifer Lopez broke history with her role
The young Latina star was paid $1,000,000 for her role. She instantly became the highest paid Latina in history.
19. The move got Lopez to pursue her side gig.
Lopez had pursued acting for the good part of her young career when she first landed the role. It was acting in this film that got her to seriously pursue singing.
20. Lopez only sang three words in the movie
Creators feared fans wouldn’t be too happy to see someone other than Selena singing her words. The only words Lopez sings are when she starts to sing “Como La Flor.”
21. Edward James Olmos packed on the pounds for his role.
CREDIT: Jennifer Lopez in “Selena”
The actor who played Abraham Quintanilla gained 50 pounds in order to portray the realities life Abraham more accurately.
22. Constance Marie spent a lot of time in the make up room.
Remember, Marie was much younger than Marcella was in the movie. To look the part Marie spent four hours in the makeup room.
23. Plans for a movie happened soon after her death
Five months after her death in March, plans for the film were announced.
24. The movie made major history.
The biopic on Selena’s life has become a classic and favorite amongst her fans. So much so that the film is known as the 10th highest-grossing biopic in history.
25. Chris Perez made an actual appearance.
In the scene where Chris Perez auditions to be part of Selena’s band, the director found Jon Seda couldn’t really keep up. They pulled the real Chris onto set to show Seda how to get the job done but ultimately used the take of his real hands.