20 Facts You Didn't Know About the Movie Selena

Surprisingly enough, Jennifer Lopez only sang three words in the entire film

By Diana Marti Mar 21, 2017 10:00 AMTags

Incredible to believe, but the Selena movie debuted 20 years ago today. That's a tough idea to wrap our head around especially since a lot of us grew up watching this movie.

Here's a look at 20 facts that you maybe didn't know about the movie: 

1. Selena the Movie Was in the Works Soon After Selena's Death: She died in March 1995, and on March 21, 1997, the movie was released. The film was announced in August, the same year as her death and was originally supposed to premiere in the fall of 1996.

2. The Casting Calls Were Insane: About 22,000 girls auditioned to play the role of Selena. In the end, Jennifer Lopez was cast along with Becky Lee Meza, who played young Selena.

3. It Came Down to Seven Women: J.Lo was one of seven (three from the open call, four professional actresses), who were selected to screen test.

4. There Was a Doppelgänger: Leticia Miller, a woman with an uncanny resemblance to Selena, was also in the running for the role.

5. Abraham Quintanilla Wanted Someone Else: Selena's father originally wanted Rubén Blades to play him in the movie. The actor wasn't able to take on the project, because he was working on another film.

6. Other Latinas Were in the Running: Both Salma Hayek and telenovela actress Bibi Gaytán were approached to play Selena.

7. Lopez had Some Haters in the Beginning: Although J.Lo got the stamp of approval from Selena's family to play the role, once the announcement was made that she would be the star of the biopic, she received backlash from fans that didn't agree with a New York-born Puerto Rican-American actress playing the role of a Texas-born and raised Mexican-American singer.

8. Selena's Hometown Supported the Casting: J.Lo said she had heard of the negative comments from others, but she focused on the support she received from people in Selena's hometown of Corpus Christi. 

9. J.Lo Bonded With the Family: To prepare for the role, Lopez moved in with Selena's sister Suzette Quintanilla to learn more about the singer.

10. The Final Scene: The famous concert scene where Selena sings at the Houston Astrodome was actually shot at the Alamodome in San Antonio. 

11. Quintanilla's Dance Moves Weren't Easy to Master: Learning Selena's choreography was challenging for Lopez. "It's very difficult to unlearn everything your body is accustomed to doing and that is does naturally. I had to learn what Selena did, which is very different from my own dance instinct," the actress explained.

12. Clashes of Ideas for the Selena Role: Director Gregory Nava was faced with the issue of Warner Bros. wanting to cast other non-Latina actresses to play Selena. He had to fight to have Lopez play the role.

13. Serendipity: Playing Selena inspired Lopez to become a singer.

14. The Entire Movie Used Selena's Singing Voice: Lopez only sang three words in the entire film, "Como La Flor."

15. Interestingly Enough: Constance Marie, who played Selena's mother, was actually only four years older than Lopez.

16. Edward James Olmos Had to Gain 50 Pounds:  The actor had to put on the lbs in order to play Selena's father. 

17. "Anything for Selenas": Selena's final concert scene was filmed before a crowd of 35,000 extras.

18. The Love Story: When Abraham Quintanilla read the script of the movie, it was the first time he'd heard the story of how Selena proposed to Chris.

19. Abraham Quintanilla Wanted the Movie to Stop Short of Depicting Selena's Murder: But Nava insisted that the assassination was dramatically necessary for the film. "But I never wanted to probe Yolanda's motivations," noted the filmmaker.

20. Familiar Sets: The Historic Sunset Station served as the location for Selena's "No Me Queda Más," but a staircase at the same location was the backdrop during the fashion show scene in the movie.