In The Mother, Jennifer Lopez embraces every aspect of motherhood.
On Wednesday evening, the cast and creators of Netflix’s upcoming action drama gathered in Los Angeles for the film’s premiere. The story follows Lopez as a military-trained assassin who comes out of hiding to protect the daughter she’s never met from dangerous criminals out for revenge.
“I remember when I wasn’t a mother, I didn’t understand that at all,” Lopez, who also serves as a producer on the film, told about becoming a parent. “I remember apologizing to friends of mine at that time who had kids — I was like, ‘Why don’t you do this and this?’ And then once I had [kids], I was like, ‘I’m so sorry; I had no idea.’
The actress continued, “This movie, in particular, I love because it really thinks about: What kind of mother are you? [In the film,] there’s two different mothers, the adoptive mother and the character that I played, who’s actually her biological mother. It just goes to show that there’s no perfect version of a mom. You have to be the best mom you can be with who you are and what you know, and the things that you learned and experienced in your life. And that’s what you kind of pass on to your kids, you protect them and love them, no matter what.”
Lopez’s producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas agreed, joking, “There’s not any one kind of mother, but if you fuck with a kid, vengeance is a mother of all sorts.”
Upon reading the script, Goldsmith-Thomas immediately snatched up the project with the hopes that Lopez would star. “It was everything [that] she was,” the producer said. “[The character] was tough, but inside, soft and fiercely protective. And that’s how [Lopez] is with her kids. That’s how she is with her friends. She is an extraordinary person. She is one of the few people I know who is just not judgmental. I hope to evolve into that kind of person someday. “
While producer Marc Evans shares that the film could have been a smaller production, it was director Niki Caro’s vision that spurred it into a bigger, worldwide movie that would shoot in locations from Canada to the Canary Islands. With Caro at the helm, Evans credited the director for the unique “feminine perspective” that comes through in the film.
“I was hopeful that they would hire a woman who wasn’t 20, a woman of color, and they did,” said Goldsmith-Thomas. “I give it to [Netflix film head] Scott Stuber and the team, I give it to everybody for breaking the barriers. This is a movie that celebrates motherhood, even a woman who doesn’t know how to be a mother but knows how to protect. It’s a movie that is not ageist or sexist or one color. We’re trying to do more of that.”
Lucy Paez, who plays Lopez’s onscreen daughter Zoe, noted that the pair’s maternal bond translated off-screen, as well. Known for her “bling cup” water bottles, Lopez gifted Paez with her own custom bedazzled cup while they were on-set. “She’s so nice,” Paez gushed about her co-star. “She was super motherly with me on set.”
Ahead of the film’s Mother’s Day weekend debut on Netflix, Caro hopes that mothers and daughters at home will “come away from [the film] really entertained and moved and with a new appreciation for the complexity and badassery of their moms.”
The Mother arrives on Netflix on Friday.