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Dirty rotten... scoundrettes

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson play rival con artists in remake of 1988 comedy


On the story

The Hustle is essentially a story about a high-class con woman played by Anne Hathaway, and a low-rent con woman, played by me - typecasting! And no, I have never conned anyone in real life - I just want to make that clear. But the low-rent thing is, yeah, often associated with me.

On Penny

Penny is such a hustler. I know that is the title of the film, but she really is.

And I love that her comedy comes from all angles, like she has got a lot of good jokes. She is quite crass. She has a lot of physical comedy in the movie, and I get to play some different personas as Penny.

My character is kind of a ruthless con woman, but then also has a heart. You see that in the film, and I thought that was a nice turn for her.

On art imitating life

When Penny meets Josephine, she is like, "Whoa, this woman does the same thing I do, but clearly does it way more successfully".

Josephine is like 40 times richer than Penny when you meet her and she is like, "How can I be her?", which I really related to because I remember when I first met Anne, I was like, "Aw, how can I be that, like, so glamorous and so talented and such a good actress".

On working with Hathaway

Anne was just so awesome to work with. She is just such an amazingly talented actress and also a brilliant singer.

We would sing all the time in between takes because we both were kind of dorks who were in acapella groups at one point. We had the best fun filming this.

The movie is essentially two-handed. It really did rely on our chemistry together. I have never worked with her before. I was such a fan and luckily, as a producer, I got to cast her in the movie. And luckily she said yes and it was really just a dream come true.

On the appeal of the film

I hope audiences are going to love this movie, because it is two women teaming up to kick ass.

There is so much glitz and glamour with the film set in the south of France. It is just a good romp and a really good story, which, if you like the original, I am sure you are going to love our changes and be interested in the re-imagining of the characters and of the cons in the film. And then if you have never seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or any of its reiterations, then I think you are just going to be in for a great comedic movie.


On becoming a part of the film

I first heard about the project from (writer) Jac Schaeffer. She, (director) Chris Addison and I were working on something else together. And she had mentioned she was developing the script with Rebel.

It was one of those moments where a light bulb pinged and I just thought, "Oh, who are you getting for the other lead?" And she said they had not casted yet. I did not really say anything or say that I was interested, but I kept my antenna up.

On how the gender switch for the main roles makes the story feel fresh

I was familiar with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, so I did know the story before I read the script.

What I was really delighted by was to find out that by changing the genders of the two main parts, it sort of opened up the film and made it feel not really like a remake, but something that was its own thing and really fresh.

And the first thing I noticed about it when I read it was just how funny it was and honestly how excited I was to see Rebel do it.

I thought, you know, it had been written for her and it was really going to play to her strengths. And then I thought that Josephine is not a bad part either. So I was really excited to say yes.

On different accents her character uses in the film

I have to have a British accent, a German accent, an Australian accent. I speak Dutch. I speak French. I speak sign language. I am sure there are other things there that I have either forgotten or blocked out but it was a lot.

On the character of Josephine

She is somebody who has been a con artist for a long time. She has a very set credo and methodology. She is very precise, studious, professional.

And Penny comes into her life and kind of upends her process and her world.

On working with Wilson

She saw this project and claimed it and believed in herself. That is why we are all here.

She is an unbelievably funny performer. It is kind of an amazing thing to watch her just pull comedy out of thin air.

She can come up with so many variations of every line on the spot. She is incredibly quick-witted and it has been a real treat to get to see that.

On laughing between takes

I giggled so much when I was making this movie. When you laugh in the middle of a take it is called corpsing, and I think I did it at least once a day.

It is a really fun experience when you kind of make a film and you just spend your day giggling through it. So I am hoping that the audiences have as much fun seeing it as we had making it.

Anne Hathaway showed off her cunning diva side in last year's Ocean's 8, the female version of Ocean's Eleven, and she turned out to be quite the scammer.

The 36-year-old US actress is going for the con again in The Hustle, the gender-swapped remake of the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin.

Add Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson, 39, to the mix, and you are guaranteed laugh-out-loud moments.

Opening here tomorrow, The Hustle sees the pair play con artists - Hathaway as seductive glamourpuss Josephine and Wilson as fun-loving grifter Penny - plying their trade in a seaside town in the south of France and who eventually pull out all the stops to fleece a naive tech billionaire (Alex Sharp).