'Selena' Turns 22: Watch Jennifer Lopez Open Up About the Role's Challenges on the

By Jennifer Drysdale‍
Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It's been 22 years since the release of Selena

The Selena Quintanilla biopic premiered on March 21, 1997, both keeping the legacy of the late Tejano singer alive following her tragic 1995 death and creating a star out of Jennifer Lopez. 

ET was on set with the then 27-year-old performer, who was at that point known primarily as a dancer. She opened up to ET about how "hard" it was to step into the shoes of such a legend.

"It's a really hard role... there's just so many aspects to the role. There's the accent, there's the singing. She was such an incredible performer," Lopez told ET on set in 1996. "To prepare, I did spend time with Selena's family, her sister, Suzette, her mother and father, I met her husband Chris and brother A.B., and they were all really helpful. I actually spent a weekend with Suzette at her house in Corpus Christi."

Suzette confirmed her offscreen time with Lopez during a sitdown interview with ET in 2017. "We basically just hung out. She was just wanting to hear stories about Selena and our lives together and being on the road, and 'How was this?' She asked a lot of questions, 'How was this? How did she do this?'" she recalled. "We watched videos together and I guess, [she] really just trying to vibe our family... not just who Selena was as a person, but us as a whole, as a family." 

Suzette was in awe seeing Lopez dressed as Selena was when she accepted her GRAMMY. "For a split second, I thought it was my sister," she revealed. Other movie moments, however, were a bit embellished -- like that iconic "washing machine" dance! 

"What is true is that we would go as a family down by the water and we would hang out and talk and be a family basically and hangout by the edge of the water. That is true," Suzette said. 

"But it's funny, because that's one of the scenes that everybody remembers," Quintanilla's father, Abraham, noted. 

That famous "Anything for Selenas" scene, however, was really inspired by true events. "Everything like the movie, they picked it up [the bumper], put it in backseat, said he'd put it up in his garage with a sign that said 'Selenas,'" Abraham said. "It was exactly like the movie!"

The 1997 film also documented Quintanilla's love story with guitarist Chris Perez. The pair eloped in 1992, and decades later, he couldn't help but support the late superstar when she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. He remembered her as "beautiful [and] talented" in an interview with ET. "[I want people to remember her] happy, on stage," he said. 

As Suzette pointed out, fans are remembering Quintanilla just as she should be. The late singer's story will come to life in an upcoming Netflix original scripted program, Selena: The Series. Forever 21 also launched a capsule collection, Selena The White Rose, on Thursday, in honor of the "Como la Flor" songstress. The line, comprised of women, men and kids styles, features her imagery, quotes and lyrics. 

See more on Quintanilla's legacy in the video below. 

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Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.