It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the iconic romantic comedy “The Wedding Planner” made its debut.
In a video posted to Instagram, the film's stars, Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, reunited in honor of the anniversary to remember the great time they had working together. Lopez played Mary Fiore, the titular wedding planner, while McConaughey portrayed Dr. Steve Edison.
“It feels like just yesterday that we were in the middle of that field, do you remember, doing that scene?” Lopez recalled, laughing. “Where you were about to kiss me and you said to me — I don’t know if you remember this — ‘Miss Lopez, I’m going to kiss you now.’”
“And I was like, ‘OK, let’s do it! Let’s get it!’”
Lopez recalled that working with McConaughey had been easy because of their great rapport and chemistry.
"We were somewhat at the beginning of our careers at that time ... It was a magical time," she said. "I'm such a romantic, too, that working on those types of movies have a real feel for me."
Lopez added that while acting in some other types of films can take a toll on her body, heartwarming romantic comedies really “do something for your soul.”
“We need a little lightness,” McConaughey agreed. “We don’t get as much of it anymore but that lightness … 'Wedding Planner' is buoyant for a reason. You’re dancing across the clouds and it feels a little like Saturday evening every day on set. It feels a little like Saturday when you’re watching those movies, for the entire movie, and you don’t want to feel like Monday.”
In a recent interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, the film’s director, Adam Shankman, explained that casting the two in the now-iconic roles had been a bit of a surprise choice at the time.
Shankman said Minnie Driver was originally slated to play the lead role of Mary in a “low-budget indie movie.” The project then moved to Sony Pictures, and Lopez expressed her interest in doing a rom-com known to the studio.
“I was honestly resistant to the idea,” Shankman said. “I didn’t perceive her as a romantic comedy person; she seemed too tough to me, frankly. But my agency said, ‘You have to meet with her: She read the script and she really wants to do this.’”
He added that after meeting Lopez for lunch he was “completely hypnotized” by her.
“She was ambitious, and understood everything that was girly and feminine about the movie, but at the same time recognized the engine inside of it. There were many factors about the real-life Jennifer that really spoke to what the character was.”
Apparently, McConaughey hadn’t been Sharkman’s first choice either. His friend and handpicked choice for the male lead had been Brendan Fraser, of “The Mummy” fame. Fraser pulled out a few weeks before “The Wedding Planner” started filming and Shankman was left scrambling to find his Steve.
“I said to everybody, ‘I can’t imagine Matthew would ever want to do a movie like this — he never has!’” Shankman told Yahoo! Entertainment. “But I was told, ‘He is who is available. If you want to make the movie now, you have to get him.’”
He then had to go on a 48-hour adventure involving “a lot of flying and van trips through many states, plus a lot of weird phone calls on a flip phone” to secure his leading man.
Both Lopez and McConaughey starred in several romantic comedies throughout the mid-aughts until the genre somewhat fell out of fashion. In recent years, the romantic comedy has seen a resurgence with hugely successful films like “Crazy Rich Asians” and Netflix’s “To All the Boys I loved Before.” Lopez hopes to continue that trend. Her upcoming film, “Marry Me,” falls in the same genre and is slated for release May 14.
“I love them,” she explained to McConaughey on Tuesday. “I cannot tell you how many people come up to me and tell me, ‘“The Wedding Planner” was my favorite movie!’”
McConaughey echoed her sentiments, saying he hears about the film “all the time, all over the world.”
“I think you’re onto something,” McConaughey said. “There may be a resurgence in the rom-com because people are going, ‘Can you just give me 90 minutes of escapism?’”
Lopez added that she loves the idea of a happy ending everyone can hold on to.
“Even though we’ve been through a tough year, it’s like, miracles still happen,” she said. “Love prevails. Things can go right. All of that stuff, for sure.”