21 “Hustlers” Behind-The-Scenes Facts –
1. Jennifer Lopez learned how to pole dance in just six weeks.
Jennifer Lopez / Via youtube.com
She trained hard with choreographer Johanna Sapakie and had poles installed in her homes in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York.
2. J.Lo had to perform that incredible four-minute-long pole dancing routine at the start of the film six to seven times in one day while over 100 background extras watched.
3. And if you recall, she danced to Fiona Apple’s song “Criminal.” In July, Fiona made a pledge to donate two years of royalties from “Criminal” to the While They Wait fund, which assists immigrants seeking asylum.
J.Lo learned the dance routine to “Criminal” before Apple had even approved the use of the song. Luckily, Apple said yes despite never having licensed the song for a film before.
4. In the scene where Constance Wu’s character gives Cardi B’s character a lap dance, Constance admitted that she wasn’t pretending to be bad, she just danced as she normally would.
5. Usher had to be convinced by director Lorene Scafaria to appear in the film. She said that “convincing him that his hair was going to be OK” was the hardest part.
Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images
Their solution to the hair debacle was to just put a hat on him. Usher then agreed to the hat as long as he could provide his own wardrobe from 2008, which included a necklace, jacket, and sunglasses.
6. That amazing Usher line, “Usher, baby,” was totally improvised.
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Scafaria had given Usher the option to say something as long as it was pitched to her, and he came up with the idea of Ramona asking him what his name was, and his subsequent response.
7. Producers originally had Martin Scorsese in mind to direct when they first read the script.
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They later admitted this approach was lazy because they had just thought up names of people who had directed similar films. Scafaria, who eventually directed the film, wanted the job very badly, so she did a second draft of the script and put together a sizzle reel.
8. Jennifer Lopez convinced Cardi B to take the role in the movie with just one phone call.
Cardi had not yet made her movie debut prior to this and was picky with the movie offers being sent her way, but when J.Lo called to describe the movie to her, Cardi felt like she had something to offer.
9. The entire movie was shot in 29 days.
Prep for the movie began in February of this year. It was then shot in March, wrapped up in May, and released in September.
10. The original distributor of the film, Annapurna Pictures, abruptly dropped the film not too long after J.Lo signed on. Luckily, Jennifer and her team have a relationship with STX Entertainment, which eventually got the film made.
11. Scafaria told the Hollywood Reporter that she and costume designer Mitchell Travers “looked at images from the period of Ashlee Simpson, Miley Cyrus, and Tila Tequila for references.”
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images, Bryan Bedder / Getty Images
12. Travers was told by Scafaria that she didn’t want to see any green in the movie other than the money.
13. Cardi admitted that she wasn’t able to do any pole dancing in the film because she was still recovering from liposuction and a breast augmentation.
14. While shooting the scene where Ramona tells Destiny to hang up the phone, Constance accidentally got hit in the face with the phone and began bleeding. J.Lo thought she had broken Constance’s nose.
15. Trace Lysette saw that the film was being made and, given that she danced at Scores for over eight years, asked to be a part of the film on Twitter. Scafaria saw her tweet, took her out to lunch, and wrote her into the film.
16. Lili Reinhart’s vomit in the movie was made with crushed up animal crackers and Sprite.
17. Lizzo had the flu when she shot her scenes. She was also in the middle of her tour.
18. The film was shot in a real strip club named Show Palace, which is in Long Island City, Queens.
They also held an open call and cast some real-life dancers and a manager.