placeholder
July 18, 2018 10:00 AM

Jennifer Lopez will return to the big screen this fall in one of the roles she plays best: a street-smart New Yorker.

Her Second Act character, Queens resident Maya Vargas, has worked at big-box store The Value Shop for 15 years, so when she gets passed over for a well-deserved promotion in favor of a candidate with a college degree, she decides it’s time for the next step.

“She takes the opportunity to prove that street smarts can sometimes be more valuable than book smarts,” Lopez, 48, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

Maya has her heart set on succeeding in the corporate world with the support of her best friend Joan (Lopez’s real-life BFF Leah Remini).

Remini and Lopez in Second Act.
Courtesy of STXfilms

“We have an ease and natural chemistry that I think is reflected on screen,” the actress-singer says of Remini. “During filming, we’d try different things in different takes to make each other laugh, or push each other further. I’d go, ‘Do that thing you do,’ and then we’d just start riffing. We’d be totally off script, and having a ball.”

Lopez at work as Maya.
Courtesy of STXfilms

Viewers will also meet Maya’s boyfriend Trey, played by This is Us star Milo Ventimiglia. “I’m a huge fan of This is Us,” Lopez admits. “He brings such depth to everything he does, and he was our first and only choice for Trey. I loved every second working with him. Besides being an incredible actor, he’s a great person.”

RELATED VIDEO: Jennifer Lopez Opens Up About Juggling Work and Motherhood

Lopez hopes that after seeing Second Act and witnessing Maya’s journey, fans will feel empowered. “It is a comedy for anyone who dreams big and asks, why not me?” she says.

Lopez with Hudgens in the film.
Courtesy of STXfilms
  • For more on Jennifer Lopez, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

Second Act, also starring Vanessa Hudgens and Treat Williams, hits theaters on Nov. 21.

You May Like

EDIT POST