The film was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, based on New York magazine's 2015 article "The Hustlers at Scores" by Jessica Pressler, starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B.
The plot follows a crew of strippers in New York City who begin to steal money by drugging stock traders and CEOs who visit their club, then running up their credit cards.
Hustlers was originally set to be financed and distributed by Annapurna Pictures and then picked up by STX Entertainment due to some financial problems. The filming took place in New York City from March to May 2019.
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Hustlers had its world premiere on September 7, 2019, at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on September 13, 2019. The film has grossed $129.9 million worldwide and received positive reviews from critics, with Lopez's performance singled out for praise.
Based on an acclaimed long-read feature by Jessica Pressler, it tells a story that feels familiar and fresh. Familiar because we’re accustomed to the fact-based crime movie formula, but fresh because we don’t usually see it played out with women. It’s 2007 and Destiny (Constance Wu) has discovered that the life of a stripper isn’t quite as glamorous or as lucrative as she thought.
The competition is fierce, the clientele is either creepy (“What did daddy do to you?”) or racist (“Hey, come here Lucy Liu!”) and by the time the men she works for have taken their cut, the money is barely adequate. It doesn’t help that she’s not quite sure what to do or just how to move her body to make more money, something she’s keenly aware of when she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez).
Hustlers is based on Jessica Pressler’s December 2015 New York magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores,” for which the journalist interviewed both Keo and a scheme’s other leader, Samantha Foxx (née Barbash).
On June 11, 2014, four women and one man were indicted for allegedly drugging men and charging thousands of dollars on their credit cards at New York City clubs. Five years later, one of those women - Roselyn “Rosie” Keo, considered one of the scheme’s two ringleaders - posed for photographers at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Keo, who was sentenced to five years probation in 2016, was in Toronto to watch her own story play out onscreen in Hustlers.