Skip To Content
  • Selena Week badge
Posted on Nov 19, 2014

22 Facts You Didn't Know About The Movie "Selena"

Jennifer Lopez only sang three words in the entire movie.

1. An estimated 22,000 actresses were screened for the role of Selena Quintanilla. Eventually, Jennifer Lopez was selected, with 9-year-old Becky Lee Meza playing her as a child.

Getty Images

2. The Quintanilla family chose to make the movie as a "pre-emptive strike" since other unauthorized films about Selena's life were already in production shortly after her death.

Warner Bros.

3. Both Salma Hayek and Mexican soap opera actress Bibi Gaytán were "approached" to play the role of Selena.

Getty Images
Televisa

Selena made a cameo appearance alongside Gaytán in the hit telenovela Dos Mujeres, Un Camino.

4. At the time, Jennifer Lopez became the highest-paid Latina in Hollywood history, earning a million dollars for her role.

AFP / Getty Images SCOTT DEL AMO

5. Director Gregory Nava had to fight to get Lopez the role because Warner Bros. was talking to other non-Latina actresses to play Selena.

AFP / Getty Images Vince Bucci

6. To prepare for the role, the cast spent much of their time with the Quintanilla family. Lopez actually moved in with Suzette Quintanilla in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Getty Images

7. Several Latino advocacy groups protested Lopez's casting in the role of Selena, feeling a New Yorker with Puerto Rican heritage was not fit to play a Mexican-American from Texas.

Warner Bros.

8. The movie inspired Lopez to pursue a career in music.

Warner Bros.

9. Although Lopez had to sing and dance in the audition, the film used Selena's actual singing voice for all the songs.

AFP / Getty Images RICCO TORRES

10. Jennifer Lopez only sang three words in the entire film. It was during the Monterrey concert where she begins the slow version of "Como La Flor."

Warner Bros.

11. At first, Abraham Quintanilla did not approve of Gregory Nava as the director of the film because he had "an ego problem."

Getty Images Albert Ortega

12. Abraham Quintanilla wanted Nava to remove the scene where Selena and Chris Perez (Selena's guitarist/husband) elope because he "didn't want Selena's fans to think that [eloping] is the right thing to do."

Warner Bros.

13. Since Jon Seda was unable to play the guitar like Chris Perez, they had the actual Chris Perez visit the set so he could play for a close-up. It was a one-shot deal.

Warner Bros.

14. A total of 35,000 extras arrived for the scene where Selena performed her final concert at the Houston Astrodome.

Getty Images

15. The concert scene where Selena sings at the Houston Astrodome was actually shot at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Warner Bros.

16. Edward James Olmos gained 50 pounds in order to play Abraham Quintanilla.

Warner Bros.
Getty Images

17. Constance Marie required four hours of makeup time to look like Selena's mother, Marcella Quintanilla.

Warner Bros.
Getty Images

18. Marie plays Jennifer Lopez's mother in the film, even though she's only four years older than Lopez.

Warner Bros.

19. She is also 46 days younger than Jackie Guerra, who plays Selena's sister, Suzette.

Warner Bros.

20. Lupe Ontiveros was 54 when she played 34-year-old Yolanda Saldivar.

Warner Bros.

21. Abraham Quintanilla wanted the film to stop short of depicting Selena's murder, but Nava insisted it was "dramatically necessary."

Warner Bros.

22. Selena is the 10th highest-grossing biopic of all time.

Warner Bros.

Nostalgia Trip

Take a trip down memory lane that’ll make you feel nostalgia AF

Newsletter signup form