Rick Bentley

Jennifer Lopez gets tough; Brie Larson will be super

Jennifer Lopez plays Harlee Santos in “Shades of Blue.”
Jennifer Lopez plays Harlee Santos in “Shades of Blue.” Peter Kramer/NBC

Jennifer Lopez is one of the most active celebrities in Hollywood as she’s an actor, singer, reality show judge, fashion designer, author and producer. She’s been able to add the network TV series, “Shades of Blue,” to the mix because each season is only a short run as a midseason series.

Working on the second season of the NBC drama also was a little easier than the first, because Lopez was working on “American Idol” at the same time she was doing Season 1. There were other projects pulling at her during the filming of the second season, but nothing like the demands of “American Idol.”

“I went back and forth between doing my Vegas show,” Lopez says. “I think it kind of rejuvenated us a little bit because it gave us a little bit of break in the intense schedule that is a one-hour drama, but I was off working and doing that as well.

“It was a learning experience, all of it, learning to juggle all of the things that I do.”

In “Shades of Blue,” Lopez plays Harlee Santos, a single mother and detective at the heart of a tight-knit crew of Brooklyn detectives who have been known to go outside the law. Santos has one big secret: She killed her daughter’s father.

The second season has been tough because all of the hard work of establishing the character was done in Season 1. Creating the character proved to be emotionally challenging for Lopez.

“I thought the first season was so challenging because it was just emotionally taxing. I knew when I read the first page of the first scene of this season, I was, like, ‘OK. That’s what we are doing. We are going there. OK. We are burying the body. OK. Here we go. Wrap him up in a curtain, and then knock his teeth out. Got it. I’m there.’ So I knew that, emotionally, it wasn’t going to get any easier for her,” Lopez says. “A storm is coming this season.”

Comic book world

“Kong: Skull Island” features three actors who have become major players in the comic book movie genre. Tom Hiddleston plays Loki in the “Thor” movies while Samuel L. Jackson has played Nick Fury in several Marvel movie projects.

Up next is Oscar winner Brie Larson, who has been cast to play the comic book hero Captain Marvel, who will be introduced in the 2018 release “Avengers: Infinity War” and then have her own movie in 2019.

Larson has gotten a head start on playing the Marvel superhero with her work in “Kong: Skull Island.” Her character is never a damsel in despair but tough enough to take care of herself.

“That’s one of the reasons why I did this,” Larson says. “To respond that we are in a different time now and people are ready for a different type of female hero.

“I think for me just seeing women being strong and tough is not answering the question of what a female hero looks like. Women have their own set of skills worth exploring,” Larson says. “It’s too easy to have a female hero do all the same things that a male hero does.

“I think there’s more to women than that. Captain Marvel will be a great example of how women lead and how is that different.”

Although Larson was working on a movie with two actors who have already experienced the Marvel world, Larson didn’t talk to them about her film. She laughs and says that because there is so much secrecy around the project she was afraid her house might be bugged.

Hiddleston returns to the role of Loki” for the summer release “Thor: Ragnarok.” As for Jackson, he’s officially not played Nick Fury since the 2015 movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” His credits show that he will return to the role of Fury for “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Captain Marvel.”

Jackson plays coy at the mention of returning to the role.

Other news

The Force is strong: Production is underway on the fourth season of the animated series “Star Wars Rebels.” The fourth season is scheduled to premiere on Disney XD later this year continuing the adventures of the Ghost crew.

The voice cast includes Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kanan, Vanessa Marshall as Hera, Steve Blum as Zeb, Tiya Sircar as Sabine, Taylor Gray as Ezra, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex, David Oyelowo as Agent Kallus, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, Sam Witwer as Maul, Tom Baker as Bendu, and Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1