The true story behind the best joke in The Hustle, straight from Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway
If you’ve seen the trailer for The Hustle, the new comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, you know exactly the bit we’re about to discuss: Wilson, on the run from a man she’s recently scammed, suddenly evades her chasers in a trash-filled alleyway. The man, and the cops he’s recruited to help, abandon their search and Wilson pops up from the pile of Hefty bags, triumphant after using her pleather dress as a disguise.
It’s quite possibly the most genius moment in the flick, which hits theaters on May 10, and it turns out that it was engineered by Wilson herself.
“The trash bag dress, by the way, was my own,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I wrote the joke knowing, I have the dress for that. They didn’t pay me for the dress, I brought it in on my own, wore it for the scene, and it actually ended up making it in the poster.”
The Hustle is a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Hathaway and Wilson taking the place of Steve Wilson and Michael Caine as two con artists who team up to scam basically the entire European riviera. And while this is Hathaway’s second recent foray into female-fronted reboots (after starring in last year’s Oceans Eight), she is quick to point out that these films are intended to honor, and not replace, their originals.
“Honestly, the movie’s a classic so you’re not going to be better,” she said of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. “And I have to say, with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, they were playing into women’s romantic ideas about men and they were kind of taking advantage of silly women — we’re taking advantage of men who have actively harmful ideas of what women are. So I do think maybe, in that sense, it’s a little more pointed.”
The other major difference between The Hustle and its original inspiration is the fashion: While Martin and Caine wore late-’80s suits, Hathaway’s character dons a series of enviable gowns and pantsuits, plus a few pairs of killer silk pajamas. (Wilson joked that while she saved the studio money with her trash-bag-dress bit, no expense was spared for her partner’s wardrobe).
Hathaway worked with the film’s costume designer to create looks that reflected her character’s duplicity: She plays into stereotypical ideas of what a “hot” woman is when she’s on the job, and dresses much more eccentrically and creatively when she’s off the clock. It’s something that the actress has practiced in her own life as well.
“Right now we’re in a moment where [women] are dressing for ourselves, but I know when I first started I thought I had to dress in a way that was more polished and feminine,” she explained. “And the way I really liked to dress was just more for myself. But now we’re able to just dress much more in the way that we all want.”
Watch an exclusive clip from The Hustle above for more on the movie, and for more of our Summer Movie Preview, read it here, or pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly — on stands now or available here. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.