Jennifer Lopez has done a little bit of action in years past, most notably the acclaimed 1998 neo-noir romantic thriller Out of Sight and the 2002 domestic abuse revenge thriller Enough.
But the famed multi-hyphenate is on such an action kick right now, she's turning them out faster than Jason Statham.
In January, Lopez racked up a body count in Prime Video's action-comedy Shotgun Wedding. She recently wrapped the dystopian sci-fi adventure Atlas for likely release in 2024. And this weekend, she debuts The Mother on Netflix, headlining the Niki Caro-directed vengeance thriller as a rogue military-trained assassin who comes out of hiding to protect the daughter she was forced to give up (Lucy Paez) from two vicious crime lords.
"I think it's really about that I'm getting these opportunities to play these roles that I wasn't even getting offered in my 20s and 30s," Lopez, 53, tells Yahoo Entertainment, laughing over the comparison to Statham, with whom she co-starred in the 2013 heist movie Parker. (Watch full interview above.)
"So it's actually very empowering and when I get sent these scripts and I look at them. … I just think that there's a really beautiful story at the core of this and [we looked at] how big of an action movie [it could] be, depending on who we bought on as director, which [was] Niki," she says.
Caro was previously best known for helming the 2003 tearjerker Whale Rider before directing Disney's action-packed $200 million live-action adaptation of Mulan in 2020.
"In this one, I got to branch out into the more traditional action movie genre pieces," Caro says. “I really enjoy designing and executing action sequences, and I enjoy them even more with Jennifer as the lead, because she can do so much of it. So many of the [stunts] are actually her. She's good at everything. And what's so wonderful about her in this movie is that, yes, she gets to flex all the action movie muscles, but also remind us of what a great dramatic actress she is."
Omari Hardwick, who plays an FBI agent who aids Lopez along the way, says The Mother is emblematic of the type of change the movie industry is enacting now.
"Jen's character is truly from some stuff," says the Power and Army of the Dead actor. “In the olden days of Hollywood, this character wouldn't have gone to someone her age or perhaps her gender [or ethnicity]… So the fact that Jen played this at the age that she could play it and be the force that she's been able to be in her career, I thought immediately, 'I've never done anything like this before.' So it was a beautiful opportunity for me."
Premiering on Mother's Day weekend, the film's release date is no coincidence.
"We get to showcase the real side, and not the sugarcoated side, of the mother," Paez says. "And you're putting a mother in the center of an action thriller, which doesn't happen often."
"I don't think you've ever seen something like this," adds Lopez, who showed the film to her 15-year-old twins for feedback. "I think we're used to seeing men in these kind of avenging roles, protecting their children, but you haven't really seen a mother do it and a mother who's capable in this way. And it is just a really entertaining [film]. But at the core of it, I can't tell you how many people have said at the end of it, they had to shed a tear. They were crying. There's a very moving story in it as well. So I think it's a perfect kind of entertaining Mother's Day movie for the whole family."
The Mother premieres May 12 on Netflix.
Watch the trailer: