Jen­nifer Lopez hus­tles her way to the top

Hustlers is in­spired by real-life events and fol­lows a crew of savvy strip club em­ploy­ees who turn the ta­bles on their Wall Street clients. Jen­nifer Lopez, Con­stance Wu and Keke Palmer tell GE­OR­GIA HUMPHREYS about their em­pow­er­ing roles in the hotly an­tic

Bangor Mail - - Seven Days -

JEN­NIFER LOPEZ is famed for her danc­ing ta­lents. But while the New York-born ac­tress, who turned 50 this year, still has en­vi­able fit­ness lev­els, she wasn’t pre­pared for how dif­fi­cult learn­ing to pole dance would be for her lat­est movie, Hustlers.

“I am ath­letic, and I work out and I dance, but it was more ath­letic and more ac­ro­batic than any­thing I had ever done,” ad­mits the star, who’s also a suc­cess­ful singer, fash­ion de­signer and busi­ness­woman.

“Deal­ing with this pole, which doesn’t move, and try­ing to fly and dance around it re­ally proved to be hard!”

There’s a lot of buzz around Hustlers, a sassy, thrilling fe­maleled com­edy drama. It’s based on real-life events, fol­low­ing an ar­ti­cle by Jes­sica Pressler which was printed in New York Mag­a­zine and went vi­ral, and tells the story of a group of savvy strip club em­ploy­ees who cook up an in­ven­tive scheme to rob wealthy Wall Street bankers.

Jen­nifer, who also serves as pro­ducer on the film, plays Ra­mona, a char­ac­ter in­spired by ex-strip­per Sa­man­tha Bar­bash, who Jes­sica in­ter­viewed for her piece.

She may have worked as a dancer on Amer­i­can com­edy sketch se­ries In Liv­ing Colour be­fore pur­su­ing her act­ing ca­reer, but Jen­nifer ad­mits she was “su­per ner­vous” ahead of film­ing the pole danc­ing scenes.

“It’s like, ‘OK go up there and do your pole rou­tine’,” she quips, when re­call­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­ity she felt per­form­ing on a stage in a club in front of 300 ex­tras.

“It’s like, ‘Oh my god, take off your clothes and wear a thong’.”

But it was “re­ally stim­u­lat­ing to think of play­ing a char­ac­ter like Ra­mona, who was so multi lay­ered”.

“She was tough and fierce and am­bi­tious and strong,” says the mum-of-two (she has 11-year-old twins Emme and Max with her ex-hus­band, singer Marc An­thony).

“But, at the same time, she was lov­ing and nur­tur­ing.”

She agrees an­other ap­peal of the project was how dif­fer­ent it is to roles she’s had be­fore.

“It’s so funny, with my tour this year and this movie com­ing out... Peo­ple are so ready to write women off at a cer­tain age, right?” she re­torts.

“But I just feel like my best years are ahead of me, and the more I learn and the more I live and the more I’m open to grow­ing, the bet­ter my work gets.”

The cast of Hustlers boasts some great names – Con­stance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Rein­hart and singers Cardi B and Lizzo.

Con­stance – fa­mous for last year’s hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians – plays Des­tiny, a young woman strug­gling to make ends meet.

Des­tiny’s life is changed for­ever when she meets Ra­mona, who gives her a crash course in var­i­ous poses and pole moves.

The two women end up mak­ing lots of money from the Wall Street clien­tele that fre­quent the club – but then the Septem­ber 2008 eco­nomic col­lapse hap­pens.

That’s when they de­cide to turn the ta­bles, along with their col­leagues Mercedes (Keke) and Annabelle (Lili).

The cast is also no­tably di­verse, in terms of both eth­nic­ity and women’s body shapes.

Con­stance, 37, ac­knowl­edges the film makes sev­eral im­por­tant points.

Jen­nifer Lopez at the Hustlers pre­miere dur­ing the 2019 Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val

Keke Palmer, Cardi B, Jen­nifer Lopez, Con­stance Wu, and Lili Rein­hart at a photo call for Hustlers

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