It’s been nearly 24 years since we left the movie theaters in tears after watching the biographical musical drama film Selena. Starring Jennifer Lopez in her breakout role, the film about the life and career of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, a recording artist well known in Mexico and the Latino communities in the United States before she was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club, at the age of 23.

The story is so compelling that two decades later, on December 4, Netflix is set to release a new television Selena The Series telling the the story of the “I Could Fall In Love” singer’s rise to fame and the sacrifices she and her family must make along the way. The new show stars Christian Serratos, who is best known for playing Rosita Espinosa on AMC’s The Walking Dead, in the title role, and Madison Taylor Baez as Young Selena.

As we get excited about the new series, we are revisiting the original film and revealing some of the most jaw-dropping secrets from behind the scenes. Check them out below.


1) More than 20,000 girls auditioned for the roles of Selena at different ages. Among the actresses considered to play the title role were Leticia Miller, an unknown who bore a striking resemblance to Selena, and Bibi Gaytán, a Mexican soap opera actress. Coincidentally, Selena had guest-starred on a soap opera Gaytán starred in, called “Dos mujeres, un camino.”

2) Jackie Guerra wanted the part of Suzette Quintanilla so badly that she lied at her audition, saying that she was an experienced drummer, when in fact she had never played the drums. When the truth was revealed, Quintanilla herself gave Guerra private lessons.

edward james olmos. jennifer lopez

3) Almost the entire cast (Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Jacob Vargas, Constance Marie, and Lupe Ontiveros) previously starred together in director Gregory Nava’s film My Family.

4) When Lopez signed on to play Selena, she expected to be providing her own vocals. However, it was felt that since the movie would be released so soon after Selena’s death, her fans would not approve of hearing any voice other than hers. So, Lopez was coached to lip-sync instead of being provided the vocal coaching she expected, although she did sing the intro to “Como La Flor” in the Monterrey concert scene.

5) To prepare for her role, Lopez lived with the real Selena’s family.


6) The Houston Astrodome concert scene was actually filmed at the San Antonio Alamodome, and 35,000 extras were not paid but actually given coupons for free Coke products.

7) Lopez and Marie play mother and daughter in this movie. In real life, they are only four years apart. Marie even originally auditioned for the role of Selena.

8) In another odd age casting note, Ontiveros, who was 54 years old in 1997, played Yolanda Saldivar, who was only 34 years old at the time of Selena’s death in 1995.


9) In the scene where Selena’s future husband Chris Perez (played by Jon Seda) first appears, the close up of his hands playing the guitar are in fact the hands of the real Chris Pérez.

10) At the end of the film, when archive footage of Selena is shown, there are shots of fans mourning her and holding pictures of the actual late singer.


11) Lopez accepted her then-boyfriend Ojani Noa’s engagement at the wrap party for this movie at the Hard Rock Cafe in San Antonio, TX.

12) Lopez became the highest paid Latino woman in Hollywood history by playing Selena, earning a then-unheard of $1 million.