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MONSTER-IN-LAW

Falling in Love: The Characters
A veteran of the genre, Jennifer Lopez found herself drawn to the role in Monster-in-Law because of the character she would get to portray.

"Charlie is a genuinely sweet person, one of those people that you meet and you can't imagine they really are as kind and nice as they seem,” says Lopez. "She doesn't wish anyone harm, she just wants to go about her life and then she meets Kevin and nothing is simple or safe anymore.”

Lopez was also intrigued by her character's back-story. "Charlie has been alone most of her life because she lost her parents at a young age, so she's someone who marches to the beat of her own drum,” she says. "Those two conditions cause her to be wary and to avoid putting down roots. Once you've been hurt in a love, whether it's a family situation or a relationship, you don't want to put yourself at risk again. Charlie keeps everything very transient and seems spiritual and fun as opposed to being a focused, ambitious career woman who wants the whole package – the kids, the perfect home, the social standing. That's not Charlie.”

Despite Charlie's avoidance of the trappings of permanence, she still finds herself cultivating a family of sorts among her friends, something that Lopez herself went through when she first arrived in Los Angeles from New York.

"Los Angeles is not like New York where you run into the same people all the time and can strike up a conversation with someone at a bus stop or on the street,” she says. "In Los Angeles, it's not as easy to make new friends. When I first moved here, I found that, like Charlie, you meet little clusters of people who live right next to you or that you know from work to form a surrogate family. And that's what Charlie has done. Remy seems to live in Charlie's apartment instead of his own half the time, and Morgan is her girlfriend who also lives in the same complex.”

"But none of them have their lives figured out,” Lopez continues. "They're all approaching 30 and they support one another's endeavors. Morgan is trying to be a caterer, and Charlie is dabbling in design but not really focusing on it, and Remy, well, we decided that Remy lives off of an inheritance. He doesn't really have a job; it's a mystery. But these people are her family now that her parents are gone.”

Charlie and Viola might appear to be very different people on the surface, but deep down they are more similar than they at first realize.

"They are alike in that they are both smart,” says producer Paula Weinstein. "They're both wily and they fight for what they want. Each has a huge need when it comes to Kevin, which brings them together so they are combative and won't give up.”

Screenwriter Anya Kochoff sums it up by saying, "These two characters are a lot more similar than they would like to be or would hope to be.”

Charlie is a young woman who cannot seem to find her path in life or focus to any one goal in particular. But suddenly fighting with Viola becomes her main purpose.

"Charlie's insecurities are at play,” says Lopez. "She just wants Kevin's mother to like her and she's willing to go to any lengths to get her approval. But then Charlie starts to believe that maybe she really doesn't belong, maybe it is her fault. But Charlie pushes past the doubt because she loves Kevin so much. She is determined to form some type of connection with Viola.”

"Charlie trusts Kevin,” Lopez continues. "That's a very important aspect of the movie. She knows that she and Kevin truly love each other and want to be together. It's that bond that gives her the strength to go beyond the call to make things work with his mother.”

Lopez was not the only actor enamored of their character. Fonda also found herself excited to take on a character so different from anything she had done in the past.

"I've never played a character like Viola,” says Fonda. "I'm just glad that after 15 year

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