If you’ve seen the commercial, you’ve likely associated it with New York City. And in the end, that’s what you’re supposed to do. What commercial? The one where singer Jennifer Lopez is driving down the streets of her native Bronx in a Fiat 500C, talking about how the city “inspires” her. But there’s only one problem: it’s now been discovered that Lopez never made it to New York for the shoot and that her New York City scenes were shot in Los Angeles.
For starters, here’s the commercial:
And now, here’s what the website The Smoking Gun, which outed the commercial on Tuesday, had to say about it:
While Lopez, Fiat, the automotive firm’s PR people, and its Detroit ad agency would have consumers believe that the star deigned to return home to film a low-speed pilgrimage through the gritty streets of her hometown, she actually never set foot in the Bronx during the filming of the Fiat spots.
Instead, the role of “Jenny from the Block” was played by a body double, according to two sources familiar with the commercial production. While the Lopez lookalike was actually behind the wheel in the Bronx, Lopez herself was in Los Angeles, where she was filmed inside a Fiat 500.
The shots of the actress were artfully merged to make it appear that she was tooling around New York City’s poorest borough. Big Block, a Los Angeles digital production studio, was hired to merge live action footage with computer-generated imagery to make it appear as if Lopez was in the Bronx.
Although J Lo’s voiceover never specifically says where she is, the press release for the commercial called “My World” says she is “seen driving a Fiat 500 Cabrio as she travels through the streets of Manhattan where she grew up.” The first word she speaks, “here” coincides with the word “Bronx” spray painted on a wall as seen from a car passing by.
But while “J-Lo” never expressly says in the commercial where she is, and it’s only implied, the press release that accompanied the commercial about a month ago, does:
“Both FIAT commercials featuring Jennifer Lopez were indeed filmed in the Bronx as well as outside locations. As you may know, in today’s world, people are increasingly mobile and their work takes them to a variety of locations. As a result, we took the opportunity to film wherever Ms. Lopez was working at the time to accommodate her schedule. The commercial tells the story of how the simple elements of our upbringing can help explain who we are, where we’re going and serve as a source of inspiration to achieve our goals in life. One does not need to be in a specific location to be inspired or continue to be inspired.” [Emphasis added]
Film purists might be interested to know that Lopez and Fiat aren’t the only ones to pull off a New York City filming ruse. The CBS show “CSI: New York” is actually filmed in Los Angeles, only returning to New York every once in a while to film necessary and exterior shots, according to the fan site Onlacationvacations.com. Also on the list? ABC’s “Castle” and NBC’s “Prime Suspect.”
If you’re looking for a series that is actually filmed where it portrays to take place, try CBS’s new crime drama “Unforgettable.”