Jennifer Lopez ‘This Is Me… Now’ Director Says Ben Affleck’s Presence Was Reduced Due to Budget Cuts

“Budget got cut and one thing led to another and it became just one character,” Dave Meyers explains

Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Dave Meyers, who directed the new Jennifer Lopez movie “This Is Me… Now: A Love Story” on Amazon’s Prime Video, explained that he and the singer made an intentional decision not to show Ben Affleck’s face in the film — though originally, the idea was to have him appear as several more characters.

“We did hem and haw on the opening scene, but we really did not want to end it with, the whole journey of love was just to get back to Ben,” Meyers told People.

“That was purposeful, because everything Jen was telling me was about her own personal maturity and what she’s gone through and learned about herself,” the director added. “That’s the thing that people will mostly relate to.”

The visual corollary to her new album chronicles Lopez’s life over the last 20 years as she navigated marriages, other relationships and her career. The singer’s new record plays throughout the movie as she works her way back to Affleck, who she previously dated from 2001-2004 and almost married at the time.

Instead of featuring Affleck directly, Lopez and Meyers decided to have the actor join the film incognito. Meyers explained, “One of the early thoughts that I was playing with Jen was that we had Ben playing lots of characters, but always in disguise, so it was like he was always ever-present.”

“What I felt when I heard that there was a book of 20 years of their correspondence, I’m like, God, what an amazing sort of heirloom to know that exists,” he added. “And so to me, in the film, that was Ben being ever-present in her life. And so budget got cut and one thing led to another and it became just one character. And we spread him out throughout the film as this sort of ever-present energy.”

Lopez paid $20 million to bring the movie to life. The film features cameos from other celebrities, including Jane Fonda, Trevor Noah, Post Malone, Kim Petras, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Keke Palmer. It has been described by Vox as “the most J.Lo thing J.Lo’s ever done” and by the Associated Press as “very wacky, very wild, very J.Lo.”

Fans have shared plenty of their own reactions. As comedian Ashley Ray tweeted, “this j.lo movie is like if beyonce was a live laugh love girlie.”

She added, “she had cgi, a green screen and a dream.”

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