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The big-screen sex kitten who turned into a HOLLYWOOD HELL CAT; Who's the best actress? Me. I have great style.

MOVIE mogul Oliver Stone drooled that Jennifer Lopez was like a tall drink of hot cocoa...

Put a red hot chilli on top and you get the flavour of the most fiery femme fatale in Hollywood.

She set the screen alight with a sizzling scene in Out of Sight, one of the best movies of 1998.

For it was Jennifer who turned up the heat with co-star George Clooney - and managed to fire up the parts his previous co-stars Nicole Kidman and Michelle Pfeiffer left cold.

Jennifer's big-screen career has barely started. Yet she has already starred with Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Robin Williams, Sean Penn, John Voight, Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson... and left a BIG impression.

But she wasn't so impressed with most of them.

After starring with Nicholson in Blood and Wine, she described him as: "A legend in his own time and in his own mind."

On Money Train both Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes made big plays for her. But she brushed them off - and Wesley took the huff and wouldn't speak to her for two months.

Jennifer says: "Some actors are so used to getting their own way they start treating women like sex objects but it's not going to happen to me."

She is sharp as a tack with the claws of a cat... a BIG cat.

And she has the trademarks of all big screen divas. Tigerishly ambitious, tough as nails and with huge egos, they are high-decibel loudmouths.

She may be critical of her male co-stars.

But she's even cattier about the female opposition. In a no-prisoners interview last year, she agreed that Cameron Diaz is stunningly beautiful.

Then came the poisonous punchline: "She's a model who got lucky and has been given a lot of opportunities she could have done more with."

Winona Ryder is cute and talented but she doesn't come up to scratch.

Jennifer says: "I've never been a big fan of hers - but I like her just for looking like my big sister."

Gwyneth Paltrow has no redeeming features. "Tell me what she's been in," says the latest diva on the block."

Well, there's her stunning performance in Shakespeare in Love. But that cuts no ice with La Lopez.

"Some people get hot by association. I heard more about her and Brad Pitt than I heard about her work."

Madonna gets the Lopez seal of approval - as a performer.

"But ask me if she's a great actress and the answer's... NO," says Jennifer.

So, is there anyone in the starry firmament who has what it takes to succeed in Jennifer's book?

Yes. There is one person... "Me! I have great style," she says.

"So does Sharon Stone - she has MY kind of style."

No danger, then, of Jennifer Lopez suffering from low self-esteem. But how much of the outspoken aggression is merely there for publicity? Not much, according to those who have looked into the eyes of the spitfire.

"The mysterious quality that made divas like Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford magnetically glamorous was a hunger that showed in their eyes," according to a Tinseltown photographer. "And Jennifer Lopez has that look."

She was born in the drugs-ridden, tough-as-nails Bronx. Jennifer's mother and father sheltered their three daughters from the dangers of the neighbourhood.

But her mum, a teacher, still worried about Jennifer whose well-developed figure drew wolf whistles before she was 12.

"My mother was always telling people, `Oh, Jennifer. With that body? She's going to get pregnant!' "

But Jennifer was not about to anchor herself in motherhood.

She had set her sights on the movies. And she identified with the stars.

"All the time I was saying to myself, one day that's going to be me," she recalls. "I had to do it or I'd kill myself. It was that extreme."

Jennifer's first break came in the TV series Living Colour. Then she made a movie called Mi Familia (My Family). Francis Ford Coppola saw it and said: "She's a star." And he signed her to co-star with Robin Williams in Jack.

Robin escaped the vile comments she aimed at her other co-stars.

But he's not even in the same galaxy as Jennifer's favourite star, Sean Penn.

She co-starred with him as a sizzling femme fatale in a skin-tight red dress in the lust-in-the-dust thriller U-Turn. "If Sean hadn't been married and I hadn't been engaged, things might have been different," she admits.

She first met her then fiance, waiter Ojani Noa, when he served her a meal at a restaurant in Miami.

They got hitched but the marriage only lasted a year.

Since then, she's been linked with rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs and Tommy Mottola, boss of Sony Music.

And she's working on an album which is to be released by... Sony.

That's given those who have suffered from her verbal assaults a chance to hit back.

They say she's sleeping her way to the top of the music business.

But the allegation doesn't worry Jennifer. "It's ridiculous," she says.

She knows it's tough at the top. And they don't come much tougher than her.

But there may be signs that she's not such a tough cookie, after all.

Following her outspoken remarks about colleagues, she gets a chilly reception in some parts of Tinseltown.

And it seems to bother her.

So much that, unlike most dyed-in-wool divas, she has apologised.

She uses the excuse that some of her remarks were "taken out of context".

But whatever her impact on her colleagues, Jennifer is still in big demand at the box office.

Her next movie is another romantic crime comedy, Thieves.

And Jennifer openly admits she is always seeking the limelight.

"Like most people in showbusiness, I want to be adored and I am frightened of being alone," she admits.

For a girl who also says: "I love my body. It's all me - and men love it," she has no need to worry about lonely nights.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Marshall, Alasdair
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 10, 1999
Words:992
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