Fact Check

Jennifer Lopez Rumor

Before the opening of Angel Eyes, did Jennifer Lopez demand that all the film's references to her be changed to J.Lo.?

Published Jun 27, 2001

Claim:   Two weeks before the opening of the movie Angel Eyes, Jennifer Lopez demanded that all the film's references to her be changed to "J.Lo."

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2001]

The following is an amusing exchange of emails between J.Lo's publicist Lucy LeSueur and the head of publicity at Warner Bros (with whom she recently completed the movie Angel Eyes). it follows a faxed request from Lucy to change JL's billing from Jennifer Lopez to J.Lo.

Read from top down.

From: Martha Hudson (martha.hudson@warnerbros.com)
To: Lucille LeSueur (lucy@rogerscowan.com)
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001, 2:08 p.m.
Subject: RE: "Angel Eyes" tweaks

Yes, we got your fax...I thought Alan said Jennifer wanted to do anything to promote this movie.

Martha Hudson
Publicity Manager
Warner Bros. Pictures, International
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91522-0001

From: Lucille LeSueur (lucy@rogerscowan.com)
To: Martha Hudson (martha.hudson@warnerbros.com
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001, 2:22 p.m.
Subject: RE: "Angel Eyes" tweaks

Of course, she wants to do *anything*. (Thought you said you got the fax.) She merely wants you to meet her halfway.

From: Martha Hudson (martha.hudson@warnerbros.com
To: Lucille LeSueur (lucy@rogerscowan.com)
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001, 2:30 p.m.
Subject: RE: "Angel Eyes" tweaks

Lucy, how can I put this? (I suppose I should phone, but I'm too upset): According to this fax, you're asking us to pull all the one-sheets, posters and prints of the movie in order to bill Jennifer as "J.Lo" instead of her fucking God-given name. This is *not* going halfway-unless she intends to pay for the millions out of her own pocket. We are talking here about a movie that opens in two weeks!! The junket is tomorrow!! Are you guys smoking crack over there with Robert Downey? The bottom line (and I've got
backup on this): She signed onto this project as "Jennifer Lopez." She - so help me - is going to be billed as "Jennifer Lopez." We can't help it if she's decided to get a diva transplant.

From: Lucille LeSueur (lucy@rogerscowan.com)
To: Martha Hudson (martha.hudson@warnerbros.com
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001, 3:22 p.m.
Subject: RE: "Angel Eyes" tweaks

Okay, I'm going to do you a big favor, Martha. I'm not going to repeat what you just said to J.Lo. But only because I don't want to see her go to jail FOR RIPPING OUT YOUR ORGANS WITH HER BARE HANDS! I simply can't believe the lack of respect here. Maybe you can play these games with "James" Caviezel (or is it "Jim"? ... Gee, I guess he can't make up his mind, either.) But J.Lo, clearly, is no "James"/"Jim" Caviezel. She is the world's preeminent female celebrity. She has more talent in her ass than most people have in their tiny finger.

J.Lo is not just an actress. She is not just a singer. She is not just a celebrity. She is a movement. (Why do I even have to say this?) She feels extra-determined that "Jennifer Lopez" isn't where her movement is at these days. She is "J.Lo."

From: Martha Hudson (martha.hudson@warnerbros.com
To: Lucille LeSueur (lucy@rogerscowan.com)
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001, 3:35 p.m.
Subject: RE: "Angel Eyes" tweaks

Okay, how about this as a compromise: I've seen this critic guy on the Internet. He calls Jennifer "J.Lo's Magical Butt." That enough of a "movement" for you?

P.S.: I'd like to see "J.Lo" try to rip out my organs. I hear my liver would grow back anyway. Which is more than I can say for her movie career after this Piece Of Shit opens.

From: Lucille LeSueur (lucy@rogerscowan.com)
To: Martha Hudson (martha.hudson@warnerbros.com
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001, 5:05 p.m.
Subject: J.Lo ill

Miss Hudson:
This note is to inform you that J.Lo has taken ill and will be unable to attend Saturday's press junket at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. She respectfully sends her regrets.

From: Martha Hudson (martha.hudson@warnerbros.com
To: Lucille LeSueur (lucy@rogerscowan.com)
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2001, 5:42 p.m.
Subject: RE: J.Lo ill

Dearest Lucy: Kiss, kiss. We're sorry to hear about poor Jennifer Lopez. At least we won't blow our kissing-and-fawning budget tomorrow. We'll need it for that Travolta movie [Swordfish] coming up.

Origins:   This

purported e-conversation between Jennifer Lopez's agent and a contact at Warner Bros. began arriving in inboxes in mid-May 2001. Because it fit with images already so strongly internalized (e.g., all media sensations are narcissistic and make impossible demands; all Hollywood agents are more caricature than person), many readers mistook it for an actual private exchange that had somehow leaked to the Internet. Even if one didn't quite catch the broader humor of this piece, however, a few details within it provided clues for the sharp-eyed reader that the whole thing was just a bit of satire:

  • E-mail for the Rogers & Cowan agency goes to rogersandcowan.com addresses, not to rogerscowan.com ones. Mail to lucy@rogerscowan.com bounced like a red rubber ball. Likewise, mail to the martha.hudson@warnerbros.com address was undeliverable.
  • Most telling of all was the purported name of Jennifer Lopez's agent at Rogers & Cowan: Lucille LeSueur. Last we heard from Lucille, she was planted in a mausoleum in Hartsdale, New York, having arrived at that destination in 1977. During her life, she was better known as the wife of Alfred Steele, Chairman of the Board of Pepsi-Cola, until his death in 1959. She also enjoyed some small personal recognition thanks to a lengthy film career under the stage name Joan Crawford.

This lively back-and-forth that so entertained the Internet wasn't a real conversation; it was a work of fiction created by an unnamed writer at Ifilm.com which was

published on that site under the "Hell Hath No Fury Like J.Lo's Magical Butt" on 16 May 2001.

The piece struck all the notes people expect of folks in the film industry. The demand to change Jennifer Lopez's billing to "J.Lo" in all Angel Eyes material less than two weeks before the premiere was characterized by the agent as a "tweak," a term used to describe a small change, something so tiny it's barely worth mentioning. The posturing terminology of the agent ("I simply can't believe the lack of respect here") also fit the stereotypes, as did the blazing denunciation of the talent's demands ("We can't help it if she's decided to get a diva transplant") by the studio representative. But it was the larger presumption, that anyone that talented, famous, successful, and beautiful had to be self-absorbed to the point of insanity, that really fueled it.

Long ago, Aesop told the story about the fox who lusted after grapes that hung just out of his reach, only to finally have to give up because they continued to elude his grasp. "Oh, they were probably sour anyway," he said as he slunk away.

Two millennia later, we still prefer our grapes sour.

Barbara "makes better whine that way" Mikkelson

Last updated:   10 August 2007


  Sources Sources:

    Davis, Tony and Nick Leys.   "Spike."

    Sydney Morning Herald.   15 June 2001   (p. 22).

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