‘Selena’ 1997 Biopic Returns to the Big Screen


Gregory Nava’s beloved Selena biopic is returning to the big screen with a new digital print of the theatrical version of the movie this weekend in Brooklyn, New York. The Brooklyn Academy of Music will screen the 1997 film October 4 through the 10.

Selena is such an iconic film and we’re so excited to see it hit the big screen again. The film catapulted many actors’ careers into new heights. For one, Jennifer Lopez, who played the Queen of Tejano music, was nominated for a Golden Globe for her breakout performance. Edward James Olmos, who played her father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., also delivered a standout performance with the memorable speech about how “exhausting” it is to be a Mexican-American.

The film is not only recognized for its flawless portrayal of the Tejano star but also its success in the box office and positive film critic reviews. Selena spent 15 weeks at the box office in 1997 and went on to make $60 million on a $20 million budget. J.Lo, who achieved box office success recently with Hustlers, fought to get paid $1 million for the role which made her the first Latina actress to make a million for a movie role. Nava fought for her to get the role since studio executives wanted a non-Latina actress, though there was also backlash because J.Lo is a New York Puerto Rican who played a Mexican-American from Texas, however, her performance dispelled the criticism. We can’t imagine anyone else playing Selena in that film.

Selena’s legacy and light haven’t dimmed nearly 24 years after her death. If anything, it’s only grown stronger. While media has regularly capitalized on her popularity most recently with the announcement of  Selena: The Series, set to air on Netflix, fans still wait eagerly for their fix of more Selena content.

Lopez, who has done several films since then but remains well known for this role, shared her respect and love for Selena for the 20th anniversary of the film.

“This amazing, beautiful spirit, full of joy and music and so much feeling, just was cut off in the middle of being,” J.Lo told Billboard. “I felt she had a sense to live in the moment, that you’re not promised tomorrow. For me, that was the biggest lesson. That affected me in my life far more profoundly than the movie did in career terms.”

Both the series and Nava’s biopic were also produced by the family giving them a level of authenticity, a rarity considering how the family is notoriously selective about the projects associated with Selena. Moctezuma Esparza and Robert Katz produced Selena while Nava wrote the script with the intention of writing her as she was instead of an idealized version of Selena.

The Quintanillas didn’t change a word of this story. We took many risky positions with this script and they said, `We want to put the truth out there. We want to set the record straight about all these stories going around.’ The family basically surrendered to us,” Esparza told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Tickets for Brooklyn Academy of Music screening are $16 for general admission and $8 for members. If you live in Brooklyn, don’t miss out!

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