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This fall will apparently be the time to see very famous people doing very bad, very corrupt things, and looking very attractive while they do it. We've still barely recovered from the crazy Wolf of Wall Street trailer, and now here comes the first trailer for American Hustle, the next film from The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams all get transformed, 1970s-style, to varying degrees in this first look at the trailer, which comes with all the annoying trappings of a Good Morning America segment for some mystifying reason.
Based on the real-life sting operation called Abscam, which resulted in the convictions of several high-ranking members of Congress, American Hustle features yet another Christian Bale transformation as Irving Rosenfeld, a Bronx-born con artist (with an awful combover) who teams up with a more straitlaced FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to help put together the sting operation. Amy Adams plays Rosenfeld's assistant and mistress, while Jennifer Lawrence gets dolled up as his wife, who stays at home in the house in Long Island and threatens to undo the entire operation. Renner looks to be a bit less colorful, playing a New Jersey mayor whom USA Today says is "keeping his community afloat in the midst of a recession."
Of course, you're not going to get much of that from this trailer, which glides past most of the surely complicated plot and rests on dazzling you with its impressive cast and the ungodly expensive music choice of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times." Sure, that does a great job of setting up the 1970s setting, but what, are they just burning money over there? With Silver Linings Playbook standing as the biggest hit of Russell's career, having made $230 million worldwide, I suppose he can throw away his money however he pleases.
In the interview after the trailer Russell seems especially proud of how the film is challenging the actors to play characters that are unfamiliar to them, like Adams as a hard-charging sexpot or Lawrence as a pampered housewife. What might be the most interesting is to see how Cooper handles this kind of transformative role. The contrast between him and Bale in that opening bit of dialogue is striking-- Bale is once again rendering himself unrecognizable with insane costumes and a brand-new accent, while Cooper looks almost stunned be donning a Jheri curl wig, as if he's also surprised to be doing this kind of transformation. Sure, Cooper's made plans to play the Elephant Man on Broadway, but he's much better known for naturalistic, realistic performances. He looks like he's playing the straight man in this world of crazy con artists, so the part might be more familiar than it seems... but given that Russell directed Cooper to his Silver Linings Playbook Oscar nomination, something more surprising could definitely be in store.
American Hustle opens December 13, and you can click here to learn more about it, with no inane Good Morning America patter to get in the way.