Jennifer Lopez watches her costars go to work in new footage from the stripper dramedy
Flexing her real-life ex-stripper street cred, Cardi B — playing a club employee named “Diamond, from the Bronx,” as Lopez introduces — welcomes a lap dance from Wu at the top of the teaser.
“You’re going to help her learn how to do a real dance,” says Lopez’s Ramona, coaxing Wu’s Destiny to hone her money-making skills as a budding dancer at an elite New York City strip club.
“I’m good at that! Show me what you’ve got!” Cardi says as Wu approaches her, just before the clip cuts to a montage of dazzling scenes from the film, including Lopez twirling around on a pole, Wu transporting a bleeding man to a hospital, and rising pop star Lizzo writhing around on neon-lit stage.
“[We filmed] a scene where she’s teaching me how to give a lap dance,” Wu previously told EW of filming the moment that kicks off the new preview. “She’s like, ‘Show me what you’ve got!’ So, I try. She’s like, ‘Honey, no! This is terrible!’ I didn’t have to try that hard to be terrible. t’s not my intuition, so, she was like, ‘No, no, no, you can’t do this! This is what you’ve got to do,’ and she explained what you’ve gotta do and why you do it. You could tell she knew the job and how to do it well, and she definitely taught me!”
Inspired by — but not directly based on — the real-life women at the center of Jessica Pressler’s 2015 New York magazine article The Hustlers at Scores, Hustlers follows a desperate mother, Destiny (Wu), who turns to stripping to make ends meet for her struggling family. At the height of capitalist excess in 2007, Destiny meets Lopez’s Ramona, a veteran performer at a bustling Manhattan strip club (already populated by fierce dancers played by Cardi B, Lizzo, and Transparent‘s Trace Lysette) who takes Destiny under her wing to teach her how to hustle for top dollar.
When the housing crash of 2008 dries up their wealthy Wall Street customer well, however, Ramona gets creative, luring fellow dancers Destiny, Mercedes (Keke Palmer), and Annabelle (Lili Reinhart) into a scheme that involves drugging prospective “customers” into inebriation and subsequently maxing out their credit cards.
The film also stars Julia Stiles as a fictionalized version of Pressler, who interviews Destiny long after her criminal exploits are over, as well as Oscar-winning Fisher King actress Mercedes Ruehl as the strip club’s manager and The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Madeline Brewer as a drug-addicted stripper who also joins Ramona’s illicit operation.
“I have danced all my life and I work out every single day. And I can say without hesitation that learning to pole dance was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done,” Lopez previously told EW on preparing for the film, which she and Wu spent months training for. “I not only watched the ladies do their routines, I talked to them about what it was like to have a career as a dancer. I think it would surprise people that most of these women are students, or young moms just trying to get by in a world that doesn’t offer those on the fringe many chances.”
Hustlers — which world-premieres Friday at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival — swings into theaters Sept. 13. Watch the new trailer above.