Jennifer Lopez has signed on to star in Hustlers, a true story adaptation from writer-director Lorene Scafaria for Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures. While Lopez returns to the big screen later this year in Second Act (November 21), she's been largely absent from the live-action movie scene since 2015, when she starred in The Boy Next Door and Lila & Eve. With her NBC series Shades of Blue coming to a close, Lopez seems ready to head back to the big screen.
Hustlers is based on a 2015 New York Magazine article entitled "The Hustlers at Scores," by Jessica Pressler, which tells the true story of a group of strip club employees who hatch a plan to rip off their clients, all major players on Wall Street. Lopez will play the "ringleader" of this group, whose plan goes way too far and gets out of control. The story is set in the late aughts in New York City, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, exploring how this affected the livelihood of these dancers, while exploring themes of identity, loyalty, survival, and control.
Annapurna Pictures will be producing the film along with Gloria Sanchez, with Lopez also slated to executive produce. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria said stated in a press release that she had always wanted Lopez for this role, adding, "there is no other actor who could embody this raw and dynamic character with such complexity, humanity and intelligence." Here's the rest of her statement about this female-centric movie:
"The film is an empathetic look at women and men, our gender roles, what we're valued for, what we've been told is our value in every movie, TV show, every corner of culture. Men have been told they're worth the size of their bank accounts. Women have been told they're worth the symmetry of their faces, their bodies, their beauty and that's what this film is based on. The rules of the club are the rules of the world."
Annapurna hasn't revealed a production schedule or a release date at this time, but this announcement comes just one day after the series finale of Shades of Blue aired on NBC. Lopez is also slated to star as Rose Alvarez on NBC's highly-anticipated Bye Bye Birdie Live!, which was recently pushed to 2019. Lopez hasn't been as prominent on the silver screen since 2015, but it's possible that a gritty role like this, based on an amazing true story, could just very well be the comeback vehicle she needs.
The timing could not be better for a movie like this, with the #MeToo and #TimeUp movements still going strong. Lopez's casting will also draw many more talented actresses to this project, as Scafaria begins to put together her squad of strippers looking to take down Wall Street's elite, in what could almost be seen as a gender-swapped reboot of Tower Heist, albeit one that is actually based on a true story, with a group of women leading the way.
Source: Annapurna Pictures