Hustlers includes a cast made up of a handful of music stars, beginning with Jennifer Lopez, all of whom have been front and center in the trailers. However, there is another singer in the movie, whose presence was not revealed by many until the film opened on Thursday night. The cameo sent social media abuzz.
Warning: spoilers follow!
The film is based on Jessica Pressler's New York magazine article "The Hustlers at Scores," which centers on a group of strippers who steal from wealthy stock traders during the 2008 financial crisis. The star-studded cast includes Lopez, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B. It was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria.
You can instantly tell #Hustlers was made by women because it treats female friendships, J Lo’s dramatic chops and Usher’s dimples with exactly the amount of reverence they all deserve.— Christina Izzo (@christinalizzo) September 11, 2019
In the middle of the movie, there was also another music star making an appearance: Usher. The R&B superstar played himself, in a reference to his own love of strippers and strip clubs. As Vulture notes, a 2008 New York Post article even details Usher's visits to strip clubs.
The best part in hustlers is when jlo asked usher what his name was and he said “usher baby” 🤪 #hustlers— Coach jen (@jennycarranzza) September 14, 2019
Scafaria told Vulture the cameo was written in her script in 2016 and she was not sure she would even be able to get Usher. Once Lopez became involved though, her connections helped Scafaria pull off the casting coup.
"It was, at first, assuring him that what the scene represents is a celebration. The glory days," Scafaria explained. "But I remember the hardest part was convincing him that his hair was going to be okay."
when usher came into the club oh mannnn my heart could not cope #hustlers— 🌻 (@medicineinparis) September 14, 2019
Thankfully, Usher has somehow avoided aging in the 10 years since the events of the film, aside from his hair. Scafaria decided a hat would do.
"The day I was sending Usher pictures of himself in hats was a very funny day," the filmmaker recalled. "I was just Googling 'Usher in hats' and telling him, 'I swear we could do this part with that hat.'"
Usher agreed and he even found his 2008 wardrobe to complete the look. He filmed his scene on one day in the summer at Show Palace in Queens, during the last week of filming. Usher, Lizzo and Cardi were all filming that day. Scafaria said his already iconic line was improvised.
"I told Usher, 'If you want to say something, let’s talk about it.' Usher came up to me after we did one take, and he goes, 'I’ve thought about what I wanted to say. I wanted her to ask my name, and I’m going to say 'Usher, baby,'" Scafaria recalled. "I was like, 'Hell yeah!'"
Lopez told USA Today that the Usher scene was filmed so deep into production that she was so into character as Romona Vega that it was no trouble acting in front of her friend.
"We were so deep into (filming) by the time we shot him in the last couple of days of the movie, and I was so in character," Lopez said. "I was just one of the strippers at that point, one of the girls. So when he came in, yes, I’m me and I say, 'Hi' and 'Thank you for doing this.'"
Hustlers is now in theaters.
Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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