Cardi B already rules the charts; she’s now making her foray into Hollywood.
Deadline announced that the musician will star in Hustlers, a revenge tale about strip-club employees who join forces against the Wall Street guys who are their clients. The film, which was inspired by a New York Magazine article, is the first for the hip-hop star, and considering her background, it’s a very fitting first role. Before Cardi’s meteoric rise to stardom, she worked as a stripper in New York City before she became a notable Instagram personality and landed a role in reality television series Love & Hip Hop: New York.
Ahead of the film’s release this fall, here’s what we know about Hustlers so far.
Hustlers is based on a true story.
The premise of Hustlers is based on a 2015 article written by Jessica Pressler for The Cut. The piece, titled “The Hustlers at Scores,” primarily follows the story of Roselyn Keo and Samantha Barbash in the late 2000s. Keo dropped out of school at 17 and soon became unsatisfied with the amount of money she was making as a diner waitress. She then decided to become a stripper and met Barbash, who took her under her wing.
Barbash came up with a method to make more cash. She’d lure her wealthiest past clients with an invitation to the strip club. When they got there, Barbash would spike their drinks with a pinch of MDMA mixed with ketamine to boost their mood and muddle their memory. The Drug Enforcement Agency began to prosecute the women after one of their own anonymously confessed to what they were doing. The authorities caught up with Keo and Barbash in 2014, and began prosecuting them for forgery, conspiracy, grand larceny, and assault.
Who’s in the cast?
Crazy Rich Asians’ Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez were already listed to work on the film, meaning Hustlers will be a little reunion for Lopez and Cardi, who collaborated on Lopez’s hit single, “Dinero,” back in 2018. Lili Reinhart (Riverdale), Keke Palmer (Scream Queens), Julia Stiles (Silver Linings Playbook), Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black), Frank Whaley (Swimming with the Sharks) Trace Lysette (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit), Mette Towley (Cats), and Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King) will also have roles. Lopez is also a producer on the film.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this dynamic group of women,” Hustlers writer and director, Lorene Scafaria, told Deadline. “We’re grateful to have assembled such a powerhouse cast and can’t wait to start filming at the end of the week.”
Cardi B’s past is similar to the Hustlers story.
In a three-year-old Instagram Live video, Cardi B admitted on camera that she used to drug and rob men when she was a stripper, as a means of survival. “I had to go strip, I had to go, ‘Oh yeah, you want to f*ck me? Yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s go to this hotel,’ and I drugged n***as up, and I robbed them,” she confessed in the video. “That’s what I used to do. Nothing was motherf*cking handed to me.”
When the resurfaced video received backlash online, Cardi posted an Instagram statement about her past, saying that she did what she did because she had limited options. In the statement, she wrote: “So I’m seeing on social media that a [Instagram] live I did 3 years ago has popped back up. A live where I talked about things I had to do in my past right or wrong that I felt I needed to do to make a living. I never claim to be perfect or come from a perfect world wit[h] a perfect past I always speak my truth I always own my shit. I’m apart [sic] of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from, talk about the wrong thing you had to do to get where you are. There are rappers that glorify murder violence drugs an[d] robbing. Crimes they feel they had to do to survive. I never glorified the things I brought up in that live I never even put those things in my music because I’m not proud of it and feel a responsibility not to glorify it. I made the choices that I did at the time because I had very limited options. I was blessed to have been able to rise from that but so many women have not. Whether or not they were poor choices at the time I did what I had to do to survive. The men I spoke about n my live were men that I dated that I was involve[d] with men that were conscious willing and aware. I have a past that I can’t change we all do.”
Some of the cast members are taking pole-dancing lessons for the film.
To remain as true to the story as possible, some of the cast members are learning pole tricks for their roles in the film. Lopez opened up about how intense training is during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, explaining that she takes lessons from a Cirque Du Soleil staffer, and that they’re taking a toll on her body.“I have bruises everywhere,” she said. “It’s so hard. I have a lot of respect for people who do the pole.” Lopez shared a short clip of her in training to her Instagram Stories back in March:
Reinhart is also taking pole-dancing lessons for the film. The Riverdale actress also took to Instagram Stories to share a snap of herself expertly hanging upside down from the pole in a black crop top and shorts. The caption reads: “Really nailing this whole pole thing. #Hustlers,” on the photo.
Palmer rounds out the cast members that are receiving pole-dancing lessons for the film. On Instagram, she shared a video of her being coached by an instructor, who walks her through standard movements and pole grips. “My first pole dancing lesson for my new gig hahahahaha not so bad but I can get into it. I ain’t no gymnast but I used to watch miss twerksum on YouTube back in the day so I got some booty movements for a gag,” she wrote in the caption. Palmer also shared a funny story about a stripper she met a while back: “I met a stripper once that said her stage name was a draw between Akeelah [from Akeelah and the Bee] and Selena [Quintanilla] cause those were her two favorite movies. I was honored but she chose Selena. #hustlersmovie”
Behind-the-scenes images from the movie have started to come out.
Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu were spotted filming parts of Hustlers in New York. Lopez’s character wears appropriate 2000s fashion—monogrammed hoop earrings with a bedazzled Juicy Couture tank top and a lilac fur jacket—and Wu’s character wears thinner eyebrows, a monogrammed Coach bag, and a chunky belt. Other photos from the set have also been released.
Is there a trailer yet?
Yes! In the spicy trailer released on July 17, we’re introduced to Ramona (J. Lo), Destiny (Constance Wu), and the rest of the “hustlers.” The film follows Destiny, who opens up to Ramona about her financial struggles. Ramona suggests that they start stealing from the rich Wall Street men who frequent the strip club.
“You see what they did to this country? They stole from everybody, hardworking people lost everything, and not one of these douchebags went to jail,” Ramona says in the trailer. “The game is rigged, and it does not reward people who play by the rules.”
Despite some reservations, the “hustlers” agree on Ramona’s plan. Watch the full trailer below.
Hustlers will arrive in theaters this fall.
Earlier this week, Lopez, Reinhart, Palmer, and Brewer announced that Hustlers will be arriving in theaters on September 13, 2019, which is also the date of Reinhart’s twenty-third birthday.