Sydney Morning Herald Interview
with Alex O’Loughlin and Jennifer Lopez
Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin helps Jennifer Lopez face her biological clock in The Back-up Plan.
By Jenny Cooney
14 May 2010
Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin looks curious as he sits beside Jennifer Lopez on the Culver City soundstage where they are shooting romantic comedy The Back-up Plan. Lopez has been asked why she chose the 33-year-old to play her love interest. “You mean, besides the obvious?” Lopez, 40, says with a giggle as she playfully squeezes his arm in acknowledgement that it’s no coincidence he’s shirtless more than once in the film.
“But honestly,” Lopez adds before the chagrined O’Loughlin can react, “my character is independent and ready to have a baby without a man, so she needed someone who could really challenge her and when we had our first meeting, Alex and I also had this playful push-and-pull banter and I thought, ‘Oh, this guy is not going to back down to me,’ so that was a good sign.”
The pair certainly have a playful energy and genuine respect for each other as they talk about the high-concept comedy that marks not only O’Loughlin’s first leading role in a Hollywood film but also Lopez’s return to work after the birth of her twins, Max and Emme, now two.
In The Back-up Plan, Lopez’s character, Zoe, is artificially inseminated and on the way home she meets Stan (O’Loughlin). As the pair fall in love, Zoe drops the bombshell and they attempt a courtship in reverse.
“What makes this film modern and cutting-edge is that this is a situation that is happening to a lot more women today, who get to a certain age and face the choice of doing it on their own or not having a child at all,” Lopez says, wearing a simple pink sundress and thongs before heading into wardrobe and make-up for today’s shoot “But why I really liked this film was it’s also a throwback to the old style of romantic comedy, with really great physical comedy.”
O’Loughlin graduated from NIDA in 2002 and was active in Sydney theatre productions until he starred in the 2004 Aussie film Oyster Farmer and headed to Los Angeles. “But my faith rapidly diminished after a year of unemployment, “O’Loughlin humbly reveals, shattering the “overnight star” myth. “I couldn’t get arrested in this town and just when I felt I’d run out of resources, I got a small movie [teen thriller The Invisible] and then The Shield.”
O’Loughlin’s edgy role on the Emmy-winning police drama led to his own series in 2007, vampire drama Moonlight, and when that was cancelled after two seasons, he starred in last year’s short-lived medical series Three Rivers.
Now he’s waiting for reaction not only to his movie role but also a pilot he filmed recently for a television remake of Hawaii Five-0, in which he’ll play Detective Steve “Book ‘em Danno” McGarrett.
“The Back-up Plan is my first lead in a movie in this country at this level and I guess it’s the first time in my career I went, ‘Wow, I’m here and I’m really doing it,’ so the decision to sign a seven-year contract for a TV show was very difficult,” O’Loughlin says, “but I really liked this take on the original show and this character… so I have no regrets.”
Lopez, who broke out as a star in the 1997 biopic Selena and has starred in Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner and Monster-in-Law, continues to expand her empire with another album and a possible tour, as well as a revamp of her clothing line. But she says her twins go wherever she goes. “I love my babies and it’s hard to be away from them but what I do as an artist is such a big part of who I am and the best mum that I could be is to be a fulfilled mum,” Lopez says.
Almost on cue, the nanny in her dressing-room trailer beckons and Lopez bids us farewell.
O’Loughlin says the toddlers gave the project a family atmosphere, even if it did come with a downside. “It’s usually an adult playground when you’re making a film, so I love the days when we know they’re on the set – usually when you hear the director say, ‘Cut! We have to go again, Max is crying in the background.’”
- Remember, this is an Australian article and in Oz, thongs mean flip-flops (and not a G-string) 🙂
- Of course Moonlight only lasted 1 season and not 2 as stated above.