Jennifer Lopez Reveals How She Stayed in Character on the Set of ‘Hustlers’

Jennifer Lopez used one handheld item to stay in character filming Hustlers

A heist film that took real-life inspiration from a 2015 article about women working at a New York City strip club who conned their wealthy Wall Street clientele out of money, Hustlers follows Lopez’s character, Ramona, and others played by Cardi B, Constance Wu, Lizzo, and Lili Reinhart as they try to earn a living without getting caught. 

Ramona (and Lopez) make their first appearance in the film during a pole dancing striptease scene the actress spent six weeks preparing for, which involved lots of bruises and traveling with her own pole.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez | Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter

In fact, the 50-year-old called learning how to pole dance one of the hardest things she’s ever done in her life. Coming from J. Lo., someone who has the following credits (and more) to her name — producer, actor, singer, dancer —  that statement means a lot

How Jennifer Lopez stayed in character filming ‘Hustlers’

Recently, the actress appeared in a YouTube video for Vanity Fair where she discussed a day in her life while filming Hustlers (production on the movie lasted only 29 days). The day in question happened to be the big moment Lopez had been working toward, her character’s big entrance in the film, the pole dancing scene. 

While she explained the scene had been set up like a stunt, she also revealed what she used to get, and stay, in the mindset of her character. Lopez said Ramona’s signature piercing above her lip and a tattoo on her wrist that’s really never seen on camera helped her get in character in addition to a small prop, an embellished lighter. 

The actress, whose previous acting roles include Selena (1997), Enough (2002), The Wedding Planner (2001), Monster-in-Law (2005), Maid in Manhattan (2002), Second Act (2018) among others, said once she arrived on set she preferred to stay there instead of heading back to her trailer. 

Between scenes, Lopez who is engaged to former MLB player, Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez, revealed she’d keep a prop lighter close to her to stay in character. 

“There was a blinged-out lighter that I would hold every day,” Lopez said before adding, “Sometimes I would smoke one of the cigarettes or something and just kind of stay in the mind-set of Ramona.” 

Jennifer Lopez filming Hustlers.
Jennifer Lopez filming Hustlers. | James Devaney/GC Images

Another “blinged-out” item J. Lo kept with her happened to be what she refers to as her “blingy cup,” a tall reusable cup covered in rhinestones which she uses as a water bottle. After receiving her first “blingy-cup” as a gift a few years ago, J. Lo now has one cup made for every shoot including her recent “It’s My Party” tour. According to her, people always ask what she’s drinking in the cup. Her response: “It’s just water.” 

J. Lo’s already getting Oscar buzz for her role

Hustlers hit theaters on Sept. 13, 2019, and almost immediately talk began circulating about Lopez getting an Oscar nomination for her performance in the wake of such positive responses from audiences and film critics alike. 

Jennifer Lopez filming Hustlers.
Jennifer Lopez filming Hustlers | Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

However, the real-life Ramona, Samantha Barbash, didn’t find the film enjoyable. She recently shared her reaction to Hustlers, saying J. Lo never spoke with her directly before filming and that some of the scenes — specifically one during which Ramona has drugs around her child — were simply not accurate.