Global superstar Jennifer Lopez plays a separated wife who’s seduced by a young male neighbor in Universal Pictures’ “The Boy Next Door,” a psychological thriller that explores a forbidden attraction that goes much too far.
The key to a successful psychological thriller is for the audience to be able to imagine that they could find themselves in the same situation as at least one of the film’s characters. As for the role of Claire, Lopez was drawn to the character’s authenticity. The actress/producer shares: “I felt that Claire’s vulnerability to her situation and circumstances makes her human. When her husband cheats on her with another woman, she feels unworthy, undesirable, dismissed. Her attraction to the titular character, Noah, stems from his coming in at this time and making her finally feel attractive and wanted.”
Screenwriter Barbara Curry, a former federal prosecutor, was determined to create a strong and contemporary female protagonist with her inaugural screenplay. Says Curry: “I wanted Claire to be a strong character who is deeply flawed. But Claire’s flaw is not that she succumbs to temptation by sleeping with this young man. Her real flaw is that she can’t forgive her husband for his infidelity. It’s a flaw of pride, really. I thought it would be interesting to have this strong, proud woman make a mistake that’s equal to her husband’s, so she would finally understand how he could have made his mistake and be deserving of forgiveness. That’s the moral of this story. We can’t be so strong that we are unable to forgive.”
Well-known to audiences as a director of big-budget studio films such as “xXx” and “The Fast and the Furious,” Rob Cohen had long wanted to work with Lopez. He gives: “I read the script and understood exactly what they liked about it, and knowing that Jennifer would be starring was a huge draw for me. She is a completely self-made entertainer who came from the Bronx, and since Selena, she’s carved a series of very memorable performances that have one thing in common: a natural, emotional level.”
Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 28, “The Boy Next Door” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.