At today’s The Contenders L.A. panel on STX Entertainment’s Hustlers, writer director Lorene Scafaria said Jennifer Lopez was the first choice to portray stripper Ramona in the film, based on a 2015 New York magazine story about a group of strippers who turned the tables on their corrupt Wall Street customers by drugging them and running up their credit card balances to purchase life’s finer things.
The ensemble cast also includes Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles and Cardi B.
Scafaria called Lopez’s role as a dancer “something dangerous that feels familiar in a way…a wink to who she was in the aughts, she was the queen of New York in that era.”
Scafaria also said she is drawn to write projects that are “an exercise in empathy,” shedding light on those who are misunderstood. “I think a movie about women crossing those kinds of lines is really hard for people…there is large stigma around strippers and sex workers,” she explained.
Travers talked about a much-discussed scene in which Lopez’ character wraps Wu’s character in her lavish mink coat.
“Loraine warned me this was coming, that it was a pivotal moment,” he recalled. “(I said) there are like 500 pivotal moments. She said this one was the one to nail, this invitation to friendship.”