Generally, if you're going to make a movie about strippers, there's one aspect of the profession that is always included: pole dancing. It is the skill that separates us mere mortals from, well, strippers capable of making folks think about s-e-x with what looks like a simple spin around a pole on a stage. For many years now, actors who've taken on the challenge of learning to pole dance have talked about everything from how empowering to how difficult it was, but if you think a professional dancer like Jennifer Lopez found the experience easy as pie, you'd be very wrong.
Jennifer Lopez stars as one of the strippers at the center of the new film Hustlers, and it turns out that her learning curve when it came to pole dancing was pretty steep and filled with nasty bruises. When the cast was asked what made them the most nervous about working on the movie, Lopez admitted that it was definitely the pole work. Here's what she had to say about it:
For me it was doing the pole dancing. The first time I tried it I was so terrible at it. I was like ‘Oh my god!’ And I knew Ramona had to be the best dancer. And the one in the club, like she was the one. And I was like ‘I don’t know how I’m gonna do this.’ But I did eventually. Because I get real determined. But when I tell you I was bruised everywhere; my legs had never been bruised like that in my life. Torn shoulder, the whole thing. But we got through it.
Yowza! OK, I think I may have developed some bruises just thinking about Jennifer Lopez getting torn up by her practice pole. As a dancer herself, I'm sure she went into it knowing that pole dancing would be a very different skill that would take work, but it had to be a bit of a hit to the self-esteem for her to be "so terrible at it" the first time around.
But, as Jennifer Lopez told Entertainment Weekly when she sat down with the outlet for a Facebook Live recently (along with her co-stars Keke Palmer, Constance Wu and Lili Reinhart), she knew that her character, Ramona, needed to be the best on the pole, so she stuck with her training to make sure her character was the pole expert she wanted her to be.
And, since we see Ramona teaching Wu's Destiny how to work that pole like a boss ass bitch in the trailer, not only did it work out, but it clearly had to be done. This is especially true since Ramona is the de facto leader of this group of strippers, who decide to turn the tables on their Wall Street clientele in an effort to finally get what they believe they're due.
Jennifer Lopez didn't mention how long she had to train to become good enough on the pole that she could do her own moves throughout Hustlers, but I'm gonna bet that she dealt with those injuries for at least a couple of months. Bruises are bad enough, but tearing a shoulder and suffering through "the whole thing" would have put me out of commission and had me asking for a pole dancing double. And this, I suppose, is why I'll never reach J. Lo's heights. C'est la vie; writing will just have to do.
You can check out the full spectrum of Jennifer Lopez's pole work when Hustlers opens on September 13. In the meantime, be sure to check out our new movie release guide for this year so you can stay on top of all the film debuts!