Olga Tañon Reveals She Was Offered Starring Role in ‘Selena’ Movie Before JLo
In a recent interview, Olga Tañon, 56, revealed she almost starred as Selena Quintanilla in the 1997 “Selena” movie. In fact, according to the Puerto Rican singer, the Quintanilla family offered the role to her before giving it to Jennifer Lopez.
“When the situation happened with Selena, which was so tragic for all of us,” she recalled, “[The Quintanilla family] offered [me] the role.”
In her interview with radio host Enrique Santos, Tañon also spoke about her friendship with the “Como La Flor” singer before her tragic death in 1995. Recalling her time living in Texas in the 1990s, Tañon also mentioned a duet with Quintanilla that never happened.
“I had made plans with [Selena Quintanilla] eight days before,” Tañon remembered. “That we were going to sing a duet together.” She added, “The affection I had for Selena was something else. However, we never took photos together… it wasn’t about show business.”
Here are all the details behind Tañon’s tell-all interview on her friendship with Quintanilla — and the inside workings of that iconic “Selena” role.
Tañon said that she declined the “Selena” role because she “didn’t know English”
In a short clip of the interview, Santos asks Tañon, “Did they offer you the role before [Jennifer Lopez]?” To that, the “Basta Ya” singer replies, “Yes.”
Later, the interviewer asks the singer why she declined such an iconic role. “First of all, I didn’t know English. Now I know a bit more,” she explained.
“Don Abraham [Quintanilla], his wife, and their team visited us at home in Texas and offered [me] the role,” Tañon recalled. However, the singer said she knew how to “recognize her weaknesses,” and understood that rejecting the role was for the best.
“You have to recognize that you don’t know the language,” she recalled. Crazily enough, though, Tañon revealed that Quintanilla’s father wanted her to take on the role so badly, that he offered to pay for her English classes.
“Don Abraham offered — I have to thank him for this my whole life — to pay English teachers for me,” Tañon recalled. “To prepare me… At that point, I told him that I was not an actress.”
The Puerto Rican singer also assured that the 1997 movie’s production team was prepared to pay her $1 million for the role, which ended up being Jennifer Lopez’s record-breaking paycheck. “Even though they offered me a certain amount of money, which was the same amount they offered Jennifer Lopez,” Tañon said. “I said, ‘You know what? You couldn’t have found a person who looked more like [Quintanilla] than [Lopez].'”
“That role was not for [me], it was for [Lopez], because she did it identical to her, she did it marvelously. I enjoyed the movie so much” Tañon added. “In life, you have to recognize when things aren’t for you. I can’t take on anything that I know I won’t do well.”
The 56-year-old singer then reiterated how language took on a big role in her decision. As she described, Quintanilla was born in Texas, and was more “Americanized” than her. “I didn’t know the language… Quintanilla was Mexican-American from Corpus Christi [Texas],” Tañon explained. “She would speak to me in an Americanized way.”
Asserting, “No one could have interpreted that role better than [Jennifer Lopez].”
The Puerto Rican icon also shared details about where she was when Quintanilla passed
As members of the Latino music community living in Texas, Tañon and Quintanilla had a special friendship. In her recent interview, Tañon reflected on the shock of the 23-year-old’s death.
“I lived in Texas. And when [Quintanilla’s passing] happened, I was in Argentina on a press tour,” she remembered. “Marc Anthony told me about Selena’s death.”
Tañon made another stunning revelation: Marc Anthony was actually with Quintanilla days before her death. “[Anthony] calls me and tells me that the night before, he was with Selena [at her concert],” she explained. In her recollection, Tañon said that Quintanilla’s last concert was not her 1995 Houston Astrodome show, as many believe, but was actually in another venue.
Later, speaking about the iconic role she declined, Tañon described: “I will always be thankful with the Quintanilla family… We stayed in contact.”
In fact, unearthed videos show Olga Tañon later honoring Quintanilla at the 2005 “Selena ¡Vive! Tribute.” During the tribute, Tañon sang Quintanilla’s song “La Llamada” for a packed audience, which included the late singer’s parents:
After her performance, Tañon said a few words about Quintanilla. “The only thing I have to say about Selena, apart from my impressive respects for her and all of her family, and the affection they have always given me,” she described. “Is that I was planning on meeting with your daughter seven days before she went to the sky.”
“I met with her [today], 10 years later, but with many witnesses,” she said, pointing to the audience. “Although they took her from our souls, they did not take her from our hearts.”
Meanwhile, on social media, many people seem to think Tañon looked like Quintanilla — at least when seeing photos from the 1990s.
One “shook” X user wrote, “Olga Tañon [really] looks like Selena Quintanilla when she was younger.”
Another included a photo of Tañon during that time period, writing, “Personally, I think Olga Tañon looked like Selena when she was younger.”
Even more users, though, say that their music playlists always include both singers. One X user explained: “It is so incredible to clean while listening to Olga Tañon and Selena Quintanilla.” And… no lies detected.
And as yet another very-honest fan put it, “There’s nothing like listening to Olga Tañon and Selena Quintanilla to destroy myself a little more.” Their songs will destroy your heart — but in the best way, of course.
Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org