Netflix’s Halftime Doc Was Supposed To Capture JLo At 50. Instead, Filmmakers Got Hustler And The Making Of An Epic Super Bowl Halftime Show

jennifer lopez in halftime on netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

It’s no secret that Jennifer Lopez is a superstar, and has been for over two decades now. The multifaceted entertainer has conquered the worlds of dance, television, film, music, has long been a curvaceous fashion icon, and is someone that people just can’t seem to get enough of, regardless of what she does. So, it makes complete sense that fans had lots of feelings while watching Lopez’s Halftime, the Netflix documentary that was released in early June, where the Marry Me star talked about how she got where she is today, which also focuses on her work in Hustlers and her pole-dancing 2020 Super Bowl show. But, it turns out that the documentary was originally just supposed to focus on JLo at 50.

Why Was Halftime Only Focused On JLo At 50 In The Beginning?

Pretty much every successful and well-known performer who’s been at the top of their game for many years experiences either a career downturn or has a few “What next?” moments during their lives. And, despite Jennifer Lopez’s seeming ubiquity, the same is true for her. Halftime producer Dave Broome recently spoke about the film with The Hollywood Reporter, and noted that one of these moments was when he became involved with the project, meaning that some of the topics covered in the documentary weren’t even a factor when filming began:

Hustlers is not on the table. And nothing that was going on in her life that we’ve seen now over the last four years is something that we thought we would be filming.

Broome added that Halftime began to come together as Lopez was winding down her Las Vegas residency. JLo held court at the Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood from January 2016 until late September 2018, meaning that aside from knowing that Lopez would turn 50 the following summer, Broome and the rest of those working on the documentary had no idea how big the next few years were going to be for the famous multi-hyphenate. This led to a near constant shift in focus when it came to what they needed to capture for Halftime. Broome continued:

It was a constant fluidness [for four years]. You start with an outline and go, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do.’ And then all of a sudden, ‘What do you mean she’s now starring in this movie where she’s playing a stripper? What do you mean that’s getting a potential Oscar nomination?’ The great thing about making a documentary is none of this is scripted, it’s real life. So when you’re following it, you’re chasing it and finding and building the story as you go.

There are, of course, many documentaries that follow subjects/topics to reflect on a big event that’s already happened, but if you go into the filming of a doc where the focus is simply “What’s life like now for this person?” I can only imagine that it would be a thrill to have things transpire the way they eventually did in JLo’s life.

After being on our screens on a regular basis since her 1991 debut as a Fly Girl on In Living Color, netting quite a bit of critical acclaim for her parts in movies like Selena and Out of Sight, and becoming many movie lovers’ favorite rom-com queen, Lopez’s starring role as a stripper determined to get what she deserved for her hard work in Hustlers led to the most Oscar buzz she’d ever received.

Though Lopez didn’t get an Oscar nomination (and she admitted that “it was a sting”), she was also tapped to headline the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, along with Shakira, where the duo made lots of headlines for their performances. That’s not to mention Lopez rekindling her romance with former (and now once again fiancee), Ben Affleck in the spring of 2021 (with Affleck also appearing in Halftime). As you might expect, the result of all this activity in Lopez’s life led Broome and his team to go back to the drawing board for their film quite a bit. Broome said:

I can’t tell you how many edits we had. It’s like, ‘OK, here’s the movie.’ ‘Oh wait, that’s not the movie because this just happened.’ ‘Now here’s the movie.’ ‘Oh wait, that’s not it.’

In the end, of course, we got what is likely a way more interesting view of Jennifer Lopez’s life in Halftime because of the whirlwind of the past four years. And I doubt many of her fans are disappointed in the results.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.