In 1995, the Latina pop superstar Selena, just twenty-three years old, was murdered. The same year Warner Brothers and the Quintanilla family began production of a biopic about Selena’s life. Over 21,000 people auditioned for the title role, making it the second-largest audition since the search for Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind in 1938.
Salma Hayek was eventually offered the role in 1995, but turned it down, because she said she felt it was “too early” to base a movie on Selena and that it would be emotional because Selena’s death was still being covered on U.S. television. Jennifer Lopez was then cast in the starring role. The film, released in 1997, was a critical and box-office success.