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TV star and stand-up comedian Louis C.K. made his mark in movies this year appearing in two fantastic films that are winning tons of acclaim and award season buzz. Last summer he drew notice for a supporting role in Woody Allen's bittersweet dramedy Blue Jasmine, then last month he hit theaters as part of the electric ensemble of David O. Russell's American Hustle. Remarkably, there the willfully schlubby funnyman pulled focus from scene partner Bradley Cooper with a curious ice fishing story that never saw resolution. But on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno , C.K. finally finished the tale.
In case you haven't seen American Hustle or your recollection is hazy, C.K. plays Cooper's boss at the FBI, Stoddard Thorsen. In our interview, Cooper described his character, Richie DiMaso, as an overgrown teen boy seeking to rebel against any father figure he can find. Unfortunately for Thorsen, that means him. When the curly-haired and ambitious agent wheedles and blusters to get his way, a patient Thorsen begins a story about his childhood, recounting how he used to go ice fishing with his brother. Once his father had warned the boys that it was too early in the season to risk going out on the ice, but they ignored him…this is as far as the story ever gets before Richie decides he has heard enough, racing to fill in what he assumes the ending and its lesson are.
Funny thing, the real ending was none of Richie's guesses. The brother didn't die; according to C.K. he shit. "He took a big anger dump in the ice." Leaving a mark on the ice that lasted all winter, a gross symbol of his rebellion against his own father. "It created a big fissure between my father and brother and I was stuck in the middle. That's what happened. That's the end of the ice fishing story."
This revelation made me cringe. At first, I was grateful we never heard it in Hustle, as its conclusion isn't nearly as satisfying as Richie's repeated interruptions. However, I do wish we had been treated to a scene where Richie reacts to this ending. He probably would have shrugged off its advice as he did all other guidance or mandates offered by Thorsen, but maybe things could have turned out differently because of a little shit story.
Also unveiled in this clip is that the ice fishing story wasn't in the script C.K. was initially given. He says above that it was a surprise Russell sprang on him once production began. "He just made it up," C.K. marvels, "Like I swear he's just like, 'You know what, tell an ice fishing story!'…So we made up this ice fishing story as we went along, as we shot the movie I'd tell a little bit more. And then the next scene we'd shoot, he'd be like, 'So what do you think happens next in the ice fishing story?' And I'm like, 'I don't know! This is your idea.'" He says Russell didn't use his ending to the story, but it's unclear if it was ever shot.
American Hustle is now playing.