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Jennifer Lopez on her burgeoning film career

The costar of ”Money Train” chats about her upbringing and influences

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Some people stress over money. Jennifer Lopez stresses over love scenes. But she might as well get used to it. Now playing: her first big-screen love scene, with Wesley Snipes in Money Train. Next up: She’s caught between the sheets with Jack Nicholson in the thriller Blood and Wine, which begins filming this month. Fortunately, she just finished a stress-free role opposite Robin Williams in Francis Ford Coppola’s Jack. All of this the stunning Lopez, 25, recounts rapid fire, dipping a breadstick in cappuccino and waving it in the air.

”I’m Puerto Rican,” she offers as explanation. ”So I dip.” The Bronx, N.Y.-born actress admits that after the scene with Snipes, she went home to her mother. ”I needed the comfort,” she says, reminiscing about the bedroom, covered with posters of Menudo and Rob Lowe, that she shared with her two sisters. ”It was a typical Puerto Rican upbringing,” she explains. ”Lots of music playing and great food.”

Lopez’s first sizable break came in 1991, when she became a Fly Girl dancer on Fox’s In Living Color. She soon graduated to dramatic roles on TV’s Second Chances and South Central, and in 1994 landed her first feature role in Mi Familia with Jimmy Smits. Playing Familia‘s deported mother called for strength of character, but Train demanded strength of the bodily kind. Director Joseph Ruben appreciated her one-two punch: ”She’s as beautiful as a model, but she can act. You believe she can hold her own on the street.”

Not that she has to. Lopez lives in L.A. with her high school sweetheart, David Cruz, 26, and her cocker spaniel, Boots. On hand for the Money Train opening are her mom, Guadalupe, a kindergarten teacher, and sister Linda (her dad, David, a computer-operations manager, won’t fly). Though Lopez may feel some anxiety over her on-screen intimacies, she has her own idea of a perfect love scene: ”When I see the faces of my family at the premiere, it will all be worth it.”