Saturday, June 15, 2024

Exclusive: “Hustlers” Director Lorene Scafaria Wants a Broadway Musical, Not a Sequel,and JLo Pleads Her Awards Case


The “Hustlers” awards campaign came to New York Sunday night with an Academy screening, a Q&A, and a reception at the Museum of Modern Art.

Jennifer Lopez, dressed business like in a suit, lead her group of ladies that included director Lorene Scafaria, co-stars Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhart, and producers Jessica Elbaum and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

“Hustlers” has made over $100 million after being turned down everywhere, as Goldsmith-Thomas confirmed during the Q&A. “We were turned down, and we took it around town on our backs,” she said. Finally, Adam Fogelson, whom they’d worked with at Universal on another film, signed up his new STX movie studio.

“Some of the others asked why the women were getting away with everything, they were the good guys and the bad guys,” said Goldsmith Thomas. “They wanted us to make one of the men a rapist or worse.”

Now, of course, the obvious talk is about a sequel. The movie is based on a true story from a magazine article by Jessica Pressler. But “Hustlers” plays like a better “Oceans 8.” The producers could easily invent another chapter.

But director Lorene Scafaria told me exclusively what she wants and it isn’t a sequel. “I want a Broadway musical,” she said. She envisions a juke box musical using songs from the movie– there are plenty– and maybe JLo coming in to play her character, Ramona. Lopez would obviously be an executive producer.

It’s actually a great, and easy idea. Scafaria says she’d like to direct it; she has a history with music, writing and producing. “I suppose there could be a movie sequel, but I wouldn’t want it,” she told me. “I’d like to see Hustlers reborn in a new medium.” Just the idea of those strippers dancing on poles in a Broadway house, with a strong new script from Scafaria — I we could see that on Broadway in two years or less, dontcha think?

Meanwhile, Lopez is an honest, open and candid with her Q&A audiences. It’s not clear if that will translate to an Oscar nomination, especially since there are six strong performances in that category starting with Laura Dern in “Marriage Story.”

But I do see JLo scoring a Golden Globe nomination in supporting actress, and maybe even winning. The HFPA would be silly not to celebrate her success. “Hustlers” should most certainly be in the comedy categories for the Globes and the Critics Choice Awards. I also think it’s possible Lopez could get a surprise nod from the New York Film Critics Circle. She’s an offbeat choice, which they love. Remember, you read it here first. “Hustlers” also has a shot at the SAG Ensemble nomination, along with “The Irishman,” “Little Women,” “Bombshell,”

Scafaria, meantime, should be headed to a Best Adapted Screenplay nod from the Academy.

More on “Hustlers” coming up…


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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