Lizzo had the flu, J.Lo spills on Usher's cameo | News Coverage from USA

Lizzo had the flu, J.Lo spills on Usher’s cameo

Andrea Mandell

USA TODAY

Published 12:31 PM EDT Sep 14, 2019

Have you seen “Hustlers” yet?

If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know a thing about Jennifer Lopez’s stripper drama, read no more.

But if you’ve taken in the film and want to know all about the cameos, from Lizzo to Usher, read on! 

In “Hustlers,” J.Lo plays Ramona, the senior dancer at a New York strip joint who ends up leading fellow dancers in a twisted Robin Hood caper that involves drugging Wall Street tycoons and ringing up their credit card tabs. The movie sports a killer cast, from Constance Wu, who plays up-and-coming dancer Destiny, to Cardi B and Lizzo, who steal the screen in smaller moments. Here’s how it all went down on set:

Nothing could stop Lizzo 

In “Hustlers,” Lizzo grabs her flute and hits the stage in sexy lingerie among other exotic dancers. And she did it all while battling the flu.

“She was in the middle of her tour, so the fact that we were able to have her in the small window that she had was so fortunate,” director Lorene Scafaria tells USA TODAY. “She unfortunately had the flu during that time. She was on the road so much.”

Yet the singer still nailed her lines. “She’s a real actor, too,” the director says. “As much as I knew she and Cardi would be incredible improvisers and make lines their own and make things feel natural … to her credit, to Cardi’s credit, they also read scripted lines.” 

An Oscar for J.Lo? Could Jennifer Lopez nab an Oscar nomination for her stripper movie ‘Hustlers’?

That epic scene with Usher

You’re not alone if you found yourself grinning during the Usher club sequence. 

But Lopez, who obviously knows fellow musician Usher IRL, played it like Ramona would when the R&B star got to set.

“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,” she says. “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.’ ”

But then it was back to moviemaking business.

Rumor patrol: Jennifer Lopez defends ‘Hustlers’ co-star Constance Wu, says she’s no diva

“He was very comfortable in that club,” Lopez chuckles, saying she quickly fell back into her role as Ramona. “I was just one of the girls up there on stage with the other girls. It was so much fun.”

What viewers experienced on screen in that over-the-top, cash-throwing “Hustlers” scene was similar to the on-set vibe, she adds. “What you feel is the excitement and the glamorous part of their life. There is a kind of abandonment to it that is intoxicating and addicting to these people, the women and the men. I think we captured that with the Usher scene, and he was fantastic. It was a good time.”

Cardi B opened up to J.Lo

Cardi B has always owned her past as a stripper, and “when I first spoke to her she gave some great insight on things,” says Lopez, who created an epic dance for the film. “I asked her about the pole. I was telling her how difficult it was. And I realize it now, walking in those shoes that I have so much respect for it. And she was like: ‘It took me years to learn. Years.’ She’s like, ‘And now I’m really good at it, but it was hard.'”

But Scafaria says Cardi didn’t base her “Hustlers” character on herself. “Cardi based (her character) Diamond on a girl she used to know,” she says.

And through Scafaria’s lens, watching the talent gathered for “Hustlers,” including professional strippers, was unreal. “It was really remarkable to watch all these women from different walks of life, some (real) strippers, some burlesque dancers, some comedians and megawatt stars … all together in that locker room.”


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