|LORENE SCAFARIAJENNIFER LOPEZCONSTANCE WUCONSTANCEHUSTLERSRUMORS|
In some ways, Hustlers is a slick and straightforward crime story. Constance Wu’s Destiny gets drawn into a criminal scheme drugging men and running up huge charges on their company credit cards by a charismatic coworker Jennifer Lawrence’s Ramona, they live the high life for a while, and then it falls apart. There’s a reason I called it Goodfellas in G-Strings, it’s basically the same story arc.
Yet it seems like every time you bring up Hustlers, someone pipes up about how there aren’t enough “likable characters” or “anyone to root for.” Making a movie about women, and especially about women who are sex workers, is different, somehow. A movie about female sex workers immediately incites some people’s moral judgment in a way that, say, a movie about male gangsters or bank robbers or scam artists doesn’t.
The toughest part is that the criticism seems to come from all sides - male scolds, female scolds for depicting sex, and sex workers for not getting some aspects of sex work correct enough. Writer/director Lorene Scafaria had so many people to try to please and yet what stands out most about Hustlers is that she refused to whitewash its nuances which was based on a Jessica Pressler article about real people. It would’ve been easy to turn Hustlers into an easy, 9-to-5-style revenge story, where plucky dancers get one over on evil bosses.
But Scafaria, who has said she’s not interested in “feminine empowerment as a genre,” doesn’t let us off that easily. When Ramona justifies stealing from men on the grounds that they’re all Wall Street thieves anyway, Scafaria makes clear that this rationalization is Ramona’s, not the movie’s. Yet Hustlers is also a recession story in the guise of a sex story, in the same way Magic Mike was.
That Hustlers is this complex is perhaps its greatest strength other than having J.Lo in arguably her most ideal role, and for it to have been allowed to be so, you know Scafaria had to have won a lot of tough fights behind the scenes. I spoke to Scafaria this past week, as Hustlers‘ For Your Consideration campaign takes shape and Lopez was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Can you tell me about some of the real people this was based on and how much contact you had with them?
I was dying to meet with the real girls at every stage of this process, but then we switched studios and I think when you have corporations and crimes involved, everybody gets a little scared. So by the time I got the rights to reach out to them, I think it was too little too late for the women. And then they weren’t interested in speaking to me. That was before filming. But then, once the paparazzi photos of set came out, I heard from two of them that they wanted to talk. So then I was really happy that I could reach out. And I’ve been in touch...
There are major Oscar snubs every year, and some hurt more than others. One that was truly shocking omission this year was Jennifer Lopez, whose turn as a fierce single mom stripper-turned-grifter in Hustlers gave her acting career a much-needed boost, garnering her best critical hosannas since 1998’s Out of Sight. It was a bummer when she wasn’t one of the five Best Supporting Actress nominees, but the actress-singer has kept quiet and respectful of the people who were cited by the Academy.
But enough time has elapsed. Talking to Billboard a few weeks after the ceremony — when the award she may have received went to Laura Dern for Marriage Story — Lopez opened up about the snub
“I was a little sad,” she said. “There were so many articles, I got so many good notices — more than ever in my career — and there was a lot of ‘She’s going to get nominated for an Oscar, it’s going to happen. If she doesn’t [get it], you’re crazy.’ I’m reading all the articles going, ‘Oh my God, could this happen?’ And then it didn’t and I was like ‘Ouch.’”
If she felt bad for anyone, it was her crew. “Most of my team has been with me for years, 20, 25 years — and I think they had a lot of hopes on that and they wanted it too, so I felt like I let everyone down a little bit,” she admitted.
But like her Hustlers character, she wouldn’t let some bad news get her down. Besides, Oscar buzz isn’t nothing. “I was a good actress — always — I can say that now to myself, but what I do now is so much different than what I did then,” she said. “You realize you want people’s validation, you want people to say you did a good job and I realized, ‘No, you don’t need that. You do this because you love it.”
She ended on a bada*s note: “I don’t need this award to tell me I’m enough.”
The who's who of Asian American media gathered at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday night to celebrate the casts and crews of 'The Farewell' and 'Fresh Off the Boat.'
Following the success of titles ranging from ABC's Fresh Off the Boat, Crazy Rich Asians and Lulu Wang's The Farewell, multiple Asian American stars, writers and executives believe it's time to redefine what successful films look like.
"It's not just the right do good-er thing to promote and encourage diversity and inclusion, but it's a thing that makes box office cents," Crazy Rich Asians co-writer Adele Lim told The Hollywood Reporter at the 18th annual Unforgettable Gala. "We have all these stories that we've been sitting on and burying because we've been told over decades that it's not gonna sell. We've seen over the few years that it's simply not true. That's a bigger truism we can take to the bank."
Lim joined Constance Wu, Manny Jacinto, Randall Park, Daniel Dae Kim and more at Character Media's annual gala held at the Beverly Hilton. The Saturday night awards show, hosted by Shang-Chi and Kim's Convenience star Simu Liu, highlighted Asian American actors, directors and stories.
Receiving the night's Legacy Award, presented by Lexus, was the cast and crew of Fresh Off the Boat. Wu spoke to THR about the "emotional rollercoaster" that has been the show's final days. She said that though she feels down about the program coming to a close, she's excited to see the projects that will come from the show's legacy.
"It seems to have inspired other people to tell their stories, one story can't represent a whole," she said.
The cast and crew of The Farewell received the event's annual Vanguard Award, an honor presented to Crazy Rich Asians in 2018. Tzi Ma, who plays the Awkwafina's stoic father in the film, told THR that the momentum behind successful Asian American projects has the power to diversify the stories on-screen.
"It's almost rebirth time," the Mulan actor said. "We're not stuck with all the flash and the special effects. To be able to tell a story with no thrills and just people talking, and 80 percent in a foreign language, something's going on."
In addition to adding variety to the kinds of stories that rule box offices, the actor also said it's time to challenge "conventional wisdom" and redefine what it means to be "all-American."
"I think from now on, you really have to question what does this mean to be 'all-American,' you have to throw Awkwafina's face into that mix," he said. “That's an all-American face. The paradigm has to...
With the Fantastic Four officially set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rumors have been swirling around who will play the superhero family, and one name keeps popping up more and more: John Krasinski, who’s not exactly shy about his desire to play Reed Richards a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic. Here’s what he previously told Esquire when asked about the role:
“I was just about to walk into the worst pun ever, but I was like, that’s a fantastic role. That would be awesome,” Krasinski said. “Marvel wrote the playbook on secrecy and awesome sort of tantalizing lay and wait until everything’s announced. I am not committed to the role or anything, but I don’t know when they’re doing it. But if and when they do it, I would love to talk to them about it.”
However, in a new interview with Comic Book, Krasinski set the record straight that talks of him playing Mr. Fantastic are simply speculative along with the new rumor that he might be directing a Marvel film:
“Wow, that’s a cool idea. It’s so interesting because I’m such a huge fan of Marvel. I think they do their own… They have such a great formula. Yeah, I’d jump in there. In Kevin [Feige] I trust. That dude is not only the most talented guy, but the nicest guy. Yeah, whatever he wants, we’d discuss it.”
Except Krasinksi isn’t the only in his family being tied to the Fantastic Four. His real-life wife Emily Blunt could be in the mix as Susan Storm, and when asked by Comic Book about the persistent rumors, she was noticeably coy. Just like Krasinski’s answer, Blunt deferred to Kevin Feige:
When asked about the Fantastic Four, Blunt knew where he was going, noting it had been a hot topic already. Killian then asked, “are you prepared for the internet backlash if you guys don’t get cast in Fantastic Four?”
“Well I don’t know, you’re gonna have to speak to Feige about it, right? No, fan casting is obviously so flattering and lovely, but I don’t see it as anything other than hypothetical until they cast someone else,” Blunt said. “I don’t know.”
On an interesting note, Krasinski auditioned for Captain America, and Blunt was originally offered the role of Black Widow, but turned it down. If these rumors are true, this would give the couple the opportunity to enter the MCU on their own terms. In the meantime, comic book fans can’t help but notice Krasinski’s very specific color choice for The Quiet Place II world premiere.Getty Image
What’s so special about Krasinski’s suit? Blue, black, and white are the exact colors of the Fantastic Four uniforms. Is Krasinski doing some low-key campaigning to catch Marvel’s eye?
Via Comic Book