Jennifer Lopez is 50. I’m going to let that sink in for a bit while you admire her taut body and flawless skin.
The actress, singer, producer and businesswoman is chuffed about her role as Ramona Vega, a seasoned stripper who, along with her fellow dancers, have fallen upon hard times. She is a top earner at a New York stripper club.
When Dorothy/Destiny (Constance Wu), a single mother suggests they swindle their wealthy clients, Ramona helps set the wheels in motion along with Diamond (Cardi B), Annabelle (Lili Reinhart) and Mercedes (Keke Palmer).
The film is inspired by "The Hustlers at Scores", a New York magazine’s article by Jessica Pressler.
“People are so ready to write women of a certain age off, but I just feel like my best years are ahead of me and the more I learn and the more I live, and the more I’m open to growing, the better my work gets. I feel that even as a singer, as a performer, as an actress, as a producer I’m able to bring something new and better every single day. It’s a great thing to be at this point in my life and career and be able to say that.”
Reflecting on her great on-screen chemistry with co-star Wu, Lopez explained: “I think from the very beginning I knew what our relationship had to be. Whenever I work with anybody, when I work with women, especially, I always like to make sure everybody is comfortable, especially when I’m producing.
"I want them to know that our sets are comfortable, you’re going to feel good, it’s going to be a nurturing creative space. The chemistry we had was real and it turned into this kind of beautiful relationship on screen between the two of us.”
To prep for the role, Lopez underwent an intense six-month pole dancing training session.
She said: “ When I started doing the pole dancing and found out how difficult that was, and then stepping onto the set to do the dance that day and the club was filled with 300 extras in there hooting and hollering and I had to get up there with what I had on, I just thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is crazy.
"What am I doing with my life right now?’ (laughs). But, as an actor, it was really stimulating to think of playing a character like Ramona that was so multi-layered because she was tough and fierce and ambitious and strong. At the same time, she was loving and nurturing.”
Don’t be fooled by her past dance experience – this task put her through her paces in an acrobatic and athletic sense.
She said: “It’s funny when I spoke to Cardi the first time about doing the movie I told her, ‘I just started learning how to pole dance and it’s really hard’. And she said, ‘It took me years. I’m great at it but it took me years to learn’.”
On wearing the hat of a producer in the film, she said: “I liked the script from the moment I read it. Let’s forget about the story and the script for a minute. Just the idea. Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and I produced this with Jessica Elbaum and Lorene. It’s female producers. It’s a woman director, a woman writer, starring women, woman editor. It was just something that was going to be amazing.
"This was going to be a great thing and this is a real, gritty movie. This is not a fluffy movie. This goes dark. It has great characters. It is told well. It is beautiful. I knew it was going to be something special in that way.
"It was also something really good for me to sink my teeth into because now, when you get selfish and you take all that away, and you go, ‘Okay, is this a good role for me?’ It was a great role for me.”
"Hustlers" will be showing at all cinemas, nationally, from Friday, September, 13.