“The Mother” remains Netflix’s biggest opening weekend of 2023 with 83.71 million hours viewed since its premiere. One of the shining moments in the Netflix action thriller is the largescale hallway fight The Mother (Jennifer Lopez) embarks on in the Mexican compound of baddie Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal). To the tune of Massive Attack’s “Angel,” Lopez goes from room to room, offing bad guys while trying to rescue her daughter.
The song was always a part of director Niki Caro’s extended vision for the movie. “The thing about that sequence was I designed it to that song,” she told TheWrap. “I always had that song playing in my head. I sent the song to the second unit director and stunt coordinator with the storyboards and I’m like, ‘This is the song.’” That meant that the trip hop band would have to allow Caro to use the song which, thankfully, they did. “It would have literally killed me if they hadn’t. I was very nervous,” Caro said.
Caro’s extreme precision was necessary as the sequence was shot on-location and storyboarded across two units of crew. “Niki had it all scripted out and choreographed,” Lopez said. “She knew precisely the way she wanted to shoot and it all built up to the climax between The Mother and Hector. We shot it [at] about four in the morning!”
But when all was said and done, would the individual scenes be able to be edited to the beats of the song? “I remember I was at home and I had the song on my phone. I had the cutscene on my computer and it was just like, ‘Oh, please God,” Caro said.
The finished product blew not only Caro and Lopez away, but the film’s producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, who said, “My tiny brain couldn’t even imagine the beauty and the choreography which she had mapped out in advance to the beats of that song.”
Of course, another key reason the hallway attack is so memorable is how Lopez and Bernal play opposite each other. There were actually more sequences between the two, according to Caro and Goldsmith-Thomas, but they had to be cut due to time. Caro is certainly open to a director’s cut — “We did have a lot more material that I love,” she said — and considering the film is currently riding high on Netflix it’s a possibility.
For Lopez, having worked with three amazing women directors in quick succession — Caro, Lorene Scafaria on “Hustlers” and Reed Morano on the upcoming “The Godmother” — might it entice her to direct a feature film down the line? “I never say never,” Lopez said.
“The Mother” is streaming on Netflix now.