A recent New York Times headline boldly pondered, “Can Jennifer Lopez Save the Rom-Com?” In the article running below it, author Nicole Sperling espouses that the Hollywood multihyphenate’s new film, “Marry Me,” which hits both theaters and streaming service Peacock today, has the potential to “revive a genre that’s been left for dead by both the studio system and the rom-com stars of the past.” I wasn’t aware the genre needed salvaging, but I guess if anyone is up to the task, it’s JLo! A veritable romantic comedy queen with such stalwarts as “The Wedding Planner,” “Monster-in-law” and “The Back-Up Plan” under her designer belt, she certainly has the résumé to back up the NYT’s assertion!
And let’s not forget Sony Pictures’ 2002 offering “Maid in Manhattan,” arguably one of Lopez’s most popular rom-coms, which sees the star stepping into the shoes of Marisa Ventura, a housekeeper at the exclusive The Beresford Hotel who inadvertently tricks a handsome guest, New York State Assemblyman Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), into believing she is a wealthy socialite, subsequently starting up a romance with him. According to IMDB, the film is partially inspired by the real-life love story of millionaire Steven Clark Rockefeller, son of then-New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, who wed Anne-Marie Rasmussen, one of his family’s domestic helpers.
Originally slated to be shot in Chicago with John Hughes at the helm, “Maid in Manhattan” directing duties were eventually transferred to Wayne Wang (of “The Joy Luck Club” and “Last Holiday” fame) and filming shifted to New York, with the iconic Waldorf Astoria taking center stage as The Beresford, the lodging at the heart of the story. Though several location websites claim that the Waldorf only appeared in exterior shots of the movie’s fictional inn and that the now-defunct Roosevelt Hotel was utilized for interiors, that is not the case. The inside of The Beresford was a combination of the Waldorf’s actual internal spaces, as well as soundstage-built sets created by production designer Jane Musky at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens.
But The Roosevelt does make a couple of appearances in “Maid in Manhattan.” Playing itself, the luxury lodging is where Marisa gets hired at the end of the film after losing her job at The Beresford once her much-frowned-upon romance with Christopher comes to light. And the place truly is a sight to behold!