Jennifer Lopez Says ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ Filming Was a ‘Dream’ and 97-Year-Old Composer John Kander Was Very Involved

John Kander may be close to 100 years old, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t involved with the upcoming film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

Kander and the late lyricist Fred Ebb – known collectively as Kander and Ebb – composed the music and wrote the songs for the original 1993 Tony-winning Broadway production of “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

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The upcoming film, directed by Bill Condon, stars Jennifer Lopez, Diego Luna and newcomer Tonatiuh.

“John Kander, who is 97 years old, was in the studio with me,” Lopez told me Monday at the premiere of her new Netflix sci-fi action movie, “Atlas.” “He is the most beautiful man. He was there for all of our recordings of the album and the pre-records for the movie. It was a dream.”

Lopez said Kander only had “very small notes” on her performance. “I was shocked,” she said.

Lopez’s producing partner, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, added “Jennifer can’t says this, but [Kander] was astounded. He said it was the best he ever heard.”

“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” based on Manuel Puig’s novel of the same name, is set in an Argentinian prison in 1981. Lopez stars as the titular role, a fantasy woman named Aurora created by Luis Molina (Tonatiuh), a gay hairdresser serving an eight-year sentence for allegedly corrupting a minor. To escape the horrors of his imprisonment, Molina imagines movies starring Aurora as a classic silver screen diva, including a role of the spider woman, who kills her prey with a kiss. Molina forms an unlikely bond with his cellmate, a Marxist, Valentin Arregui Paz (Luna).

Variety exclusively reported the film was in development in December.

“It’s a very special musical,” Lopez said. “It is very relevant and timely right now. It’s a beautiful love story. The music and lyrics alone that Kander and Ebb did is so moving and so beautiful. I honestly was blown away and so incredibly fortunate to be able to sing those songs.”

She added, “I’ve never worked on a movie that I did not want it to be over. I wanted it to go on and on and on and on.”

The two previous adaptations of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” — the 1993 musical and a 1985 film adaptation of Puig’s novel from director Héctor Babenco — were both critical and commercial hits. William Hurt won the Oscar for best actor for his work as Molina. The musical won seven Tony Awards, including for best musical and for all three performers: Chita Rivera, Brent Carver and Anthony Crivello.

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