Birds Of Prey’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead Says It’s ‘Unlike Anything’ In The Superhero Genre

The DC Extended Universe has had an interesting tenure in theaters, starting with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. The shared universe had a ton of hype around its inception, with fans eager to see their favorite characters translated into live-action. And while movies like Justice League failed to impress critics or make money at the box office, Warner Bros. seems to have hit its stride recently. Shazam! and Aquaman were both successes, and it looks like Cathy Yan’s upcoming Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is going to bring something wholly unique to the genre. At least, according to actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

10 Cloverfield Lane actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead is playing Helena Bertinelli / Huntress in Birds of Prey, a Gotham City vigilante and daughter of gangster Franco Bertinelli. The female-centric DC blockbuster is also a pseudo spinoff for Harley Quinn, with the first poster revealing her bizarre perspective of the world. It’s likely this narrative opportunity that Winstead is referencing when speaking about the movie’s unique perspective, saying:

Well, that’s certainly intriguing. Because while some critics fear that superhero fatigue will make the market oversaturated and predictable, it seems like Cathy Yan is bringing something new to theaters with Birds of Prey. Is it February yet?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s comments to Total Film are sure to excite DC fans out there, who are eager to return to the shared universe and see it continue to expand. While Todd Phillips’ Joker will hit theaters shortly, the 1981-set origin story is disconnected from the DCEU. As such, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is the next opportunity to give back into the franchise proper.

Birds of Prey will be the DCEU’s first big ensemble film since Justice League, which has the potential to make moviegoers nervous. Aquaman, Shazam!, and Joker all focused on one major character, allowing the subject to become truly fleshed. Crossovers seem to be largely abandoned by the studio, but Birds of Prey will change that by having Harley Quinn interact with plenty of new (but iconic) characters, including Huntress, Black Canary, Black Mask, Victor Zsasz, and Renee Montoya.

It should be fascinating to see what exactly Mary Elizabeth Winstead is teasing about Birds of Prey‘s contents. Given how popular the superhero genre is, it seems like audiences have seen just about everything. But Harley Quinn’s fracture mental state might be the key to bringing something new to the genre. If audiences are able to get into her twisted mind, it could allow for concepts like an unreliable narrator or trippy visuals to be incorporated into the upcoming DC blockbuster.

All will be revealed when Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) arrives in theaters February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Thanks To Downton Abbey, The Door Is Wide Open For More TV Shows To Hit The Big Screen

Downton Abbey's Carson returning as Butler

Even before Downton Abbey came to an end after six seasons in 2015, the prospect of a feature film follow-up was raised. It’s a possibility often brought up, either in seriousness, speculation or hope, for many popular TV shows as a way to go out with a bang or as a means of providing closure for a series that perhaps was cancelled too soon. Many wondered if Game of Thrones should end its epic run with a feature film and ‘six seasons and a movie’ was both a running joke and mission statement for Community.

As much as the idea might be bandied around, going from the small screen to the big one with a follow-up or concluding movie is still rather rare. Sure, some shows like Sense8 or, after a long-delay, Deadwood get movies to close out their stories, but those are usually on television, not at the local multiplex. More often than not, television shows end within the confines in which they began: the small screen.

However, thanks to the theatrical feature film Downton Abbey, the door is wide open for more TV shows to hit the big screen.

How Downton Abbey Did At The Box Office Opening Weekend

Downton Abbey seemed like an unlikely candidate for a theatrical feature film in today’s blockbuster-driven marketplace. The television series was a historical period drama that aired on PBS in the United States and although it was very popular, success on the small screen on free TV and making an impact at the theatrical box office are two very different things. That makes Downton Abbey an unlikely success story, but a success is exactly what it has turned out to be.

This past weekend, Downton Abbey, again a British period drama, beat out the franchise action film Rambo: Last Blood and the Brad Pitt science fiction epic Ad Astra at the box office. More than that, it wasn’t even close. Downton Abbey cleaned house, blowing past tracking and coming in first place at the box office with $31 million, well ahead of second place finisher Ad Astra’s $19.2 million.

This surprising performance was the biggest opening weekend ever for Focus Features and it happened against a thrifty $17 million production budget before marketing, immediately established Downton Abbey as a win. It’s a remarkable success that validates the decision to make the Downton Abbey movie theatrical instead of putting it on the upcoming Peacock streaming service where it would have missed out on all that box office cheddar. Yet, it is worth looking at why Downton Abbey did so well and how replicable that is.

Why Downton Abbey Did So Well

Downton Abbey did so well in part because it catered to a largely underserved audience at the box office. Nowadays, in a crowded blockbuster landscape, adult-skewing dramas are a dying breed, a dying breed that is ironically thriving on the small screen. Taking one of those adult dramas from the small screen to the big one got older audiences to come out to the theater.

According to Deadline, 32% of Downton Abbey’s opening weekend audiences were over the age of 55. Baby boomers showed up on opening weekend in force for an adult drama that also really appealed to women. A whopping 74% of Downton’s opening weekend audience was female. Movies seemingly geared toward a female audience don’t always work, as evidenced by The Kitchen and Where’d You Go Bernadette. But for the right film and one that’s actually good, women will show up.

These exact circumstances might be unique to Downton Abbey, but its success on the big screen still offers plenty of hope for other popular TV series to get their fans off the couch and into the theater.

Popular TV Shows Are Powerful IPs

These days, the box office is often driven by recognizable IPs and powerful name brands. This is why we see a lot of instances of choice television properties being rebooted and adapted for the big screen. Movies like 21 Jump Street, Baywatch and Power Rangers have all tried this, albeit to varying degrees of success.

The difference with something like Downton Abbey is that it is a follow-up/reunion/continuation of a recent show that people already love. So, it benefits from having a built-in audience and name recognition, without the risk of alienating those existing fans by doing something too different with a reboot. In the peak TV era, the biggest television shows are cultural touchstones on par with the biggest franchise films, and that familiarity makes them incredibly attractive properties.

Downton Abbey’s box office success could act as a proof-of-concept, kicking open the door for other popular television properties to follow in its theatrical footsteps.

Why There’s Hope For Other TV Shows At The Box Office

Downton Abbey was a hugely popular TV show, the type of water-cooler series that people binged and discussed. Appointment television like Downton Abbey compels fans to watch a show as soon as it airs or quickly binge through it when it drops on a streaming service to be part of the conversation and avoid spoilers. Downton Abbey provides strong evidence that that need and immediacy extends beyond the small screen. Fans will seek out the next chapters in their favorite shows no matter what platform they are on.

But in some ways, Downton Abbey was an odd choice to get a feature film follow-up, at least compared to some other big television shows we’ll touch on later. Although I was never a fan, it is my understanding that the Downton Abbey TV series was not cancelled too soon and although there was room for a continuation, it largely wrapped up its character’s stories and offered a degree of closure for fans.

Audiences showed up to see Downton Abbey in the theater because they loved these characters and wanted to see more of them and what happened to them after the final episode aired. That sentiment undoubtedly holds true for many other beloved series with dedicated fanbases, meaning that other TV shows could also find success on the big screen.

There are plenty of TV shows that deserve a movie and I imagine that if those series were cancelled too early or had major lingering questions, the desire for a movie would be even greater and correspondingly, the box office potential would also be large. Two TV series that left audiences wondering what happens next are already getting movies that look to answer those very questions.

What TV Shows Are Already Coming To Theaters

Sex and the City, Serenity, The X-Files, The Simpsons Movie and Entourage have all offered theatrical entries to TV series. Downton Abbey‘s success may inspire more TV show follow-up movies, but two other hugely popular, water-cooler shows already have movies in the works.

Breaking Bad is one of the greatest television shows of all time and although it concluded the story of Walter White, the ultimate fate of Jesse Pinkman was left rather up in the air. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie coming to Netflix will answer what happened to Jesse next. El Camino is only getting a limited, one-weekend theatrical run, but it will play in theaters and after Downton Abbey’s success, one has to wonder if it should have had a full theatrical release.

A series that is getting an exclusive theatrical release is AMC’s The Walking Dead movie. That film will answer what happened to Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes after his character’s exit from the show came in a manner other than his long expected death. It seemed like a strange move to make The Walking Dead movie theatrical considering that audiences followed Rick Grimes’ story on the small screen and are used to seeing it with their cable subscription. Now though, after the success of Downton Abbey, that move looks like it may have been a shrewd one.

The Big Screen Isn’t For Everyone

The decision to put Downton Abbey in the theaters paid off so handsomely that it will clearly inspire others to think twice about sending follow-up/reunion movies for popular TV shows straight to whatever new streaming service their corporate overlords are hocking and perhaps try their hand at the box office. I imagine more shows will do just that beyond the ones we already know about.

However, theatrical should not necessarily be the default option, it’s just an option, and where a TV series’ follow-up movie should land is going to vary based on each show and what works for one may not work for another. The popularity of a show, how long it has been off the air (if it has) and whether its content really necessitates a big screen presentation are all factors that must be considered.

In addition, Downton Abbey is a success in part because it was made on a very reasonable budget. If a huge genre show like Game of Thrones or The Expanse were to get the theatrical treatment, the budgets would be much higher and so to would be the threshold for success.

Not all popular TV shows should follow Downton Abbey to the big screen, but for those that do, the door is wide open thanks to Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey is now playing. Check out our 2019 release schedule to see what else is headed to the big screen the rest of this year.

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Why One Major Country Has Banned Hustlers

Hustlers has been both a critical and commercial success since its release a a couple of weeks ago. However, there’s one country where the movie is going to fail to be either. The film censorship board of Malaysia has decided to ban Hustlers from the country for what it calls “excessively obscene content.”

To be sure, the film is rated-R in this country for a reason. Hustlers follows a group of strippers as they develop a scheme to drug men and run up their credit cards, believing that nobody will ever turn them in, or even realize what has happened, because they don’t want to admit they were hanging out with strippers.

With the movie being about professional strippers, it’s not too difficult to imagine why a film censorship board would take an issue with Hustlers. The film contains nudity, of both the male and female variety, as well as erotic dancing, and drug use. For these reasons, the BBC reports the film has received an outright ban from the Malaysia.

There are several countries in the world that review films for content like this, and will either edit the productions or ban them entirely depending on how significant the censorship board thinks the issues are. China cut scenes from Bohemian Rhapsody. Samoa banned the Elton John biopic Rocketman. In the past, Malaysia censored scenes from Rocketman and very nearly banned the Beauty and the Beast remake due to the fact that gay content is not allowed in Malaysian cinemas.

In the case of Beauty and the Beast, Malaysia only wanted to edit the end of the film, but Disney decided not to release the film in Malaysia at all if it was going to be edited. Eventually the censorship board pulled back and allowed the unedited film to screen.

Based on the word from Hustlers international distributor, it appears the movie was truly banned, rather than this being a studio decision to not release the film with edits. Certainly, the amount of allegedly offending content is significant, and editing it all out would likely end up destroying the story as well. Too much important dialogue and plot development is happening while other “obscene” things are also going on. If “erotic dancing” is against the rules, then Jennifer Lopez’s entire character introduction in Hustlers would have to be pulled, and that would end up changing quite a bit about the movie as a whole.

While it’s always unfortunate to see artistic endeavors censored or banned, it’s especially unfortunate when it comes to something like Hustlers because there’s general agreement that this is a pretty damn good movie. There’s even been talk of a potential Oscar nomination for Jennifer Lopez, and so the idea of some people not having a chance to see such a performance is upsetting.

If you live in most of the rest of the world, Hustlers is in theaters now.

Bob Iger Explains Why George Lucas Was Disappointed With The Force Awakens

George Lucas’ Star Wars is one of the most popular movie franchises of all time. The epic space opera has enthralled generations of moviegoers, dominating pop culture for the past few years thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. J.J. Abrams kickstarted the property back up with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, introducing new characters, and allowing them to interact with franchise favorites like Leia, Han, and Luke. But it turns out that Lucas wasn’t a big fan of Disney’s first big screen outing with the franchise.

It was George Lucas’ vision that brought the Star Wars franchise to life, and captured the attention of countless moviegoers. Lucas directed the original movies and prequel trilogy, before handing over the creative reigns to Disney once the House of Mouse purchased Lucasfilm. Disney CEO Bob Iger recently revealed that Lucas wasn’t a big fan of The Force Awakens, claiming it was too similar to past installments of the franchise. As Iger wrote in his new book:

Yikes. George Lucas knows the Star Wars franchise better than anyone, and the powers that be obviously wanted to impress the visionary filmmaker with the new installments. Unfortunately, The Force Awakens failed to do that.

Bob Iger revealed this story in his new book The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years As CEO Of The Walt Disney Company (via Screen Rant), and I’ve got to wonder if he and the powers at Disney were panicking in the wake of George Lucas’ reaction. If Lucas wasn’t a fan of The Force Awakens, one would assume that the fans might follow suit. Luckily, Episode VIII made a ton of money at the box office, with sequels and standalone movies hitting theaters over the proceeding years.

While The Force Awakens was definitely a hit, there are some fans who shared George Lucas’ negative feelings about J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars debut. Some moviegoers took umbrage with the movie’s similarities to A New Hope. The dessert setting of Jakku closely resembled Tatooine, while Kylo Ren was a masked villain similar to that of Darth Vader. Additionally, the conflict between The Resistance and First Order felt almost identical to The Rebels Vs. Empire. Plus, Starkiller Base felt like an updated version of the Death Star.

I’d be interested to know George Lucas’ feelings about Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, especially in comparison to The Force Awakens. Johns took the opposite approach to his movie, taking a ton of big risks and liberally changing the canon of the franchise. But just like fans were mad about about The Force Awakens being too close to A New Hope, others were just as mad about Johnson’s subversive approach to the property.

The final installment in the current trilogy, as well as the Skywalker Saga as a whole, is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, hitting theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Looks Like The Batman’s Jeffrey Wright Is Already Teasing His Commissioner Gordon Role

The DC live-action universe is constantly in motion, as the franchise’s future is dictated by the success of each new release. The DCEU struggled early on with movies like Batman v Superman and Justice League, with the latter ultimately marking Ben Affleck’s final appearance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Affleck hanging up the cape and cowl meant that Matt Reeves had to find a new star for The Batman, ultimately landing on Twilight alum Robert Pattinson. But Reeves also has to cast the supporting characters and villains, with a new report indicating Westworld‘s Jeffrey Wright would be playing Commissioner Gordon. And now the actor seems to be teasing his involvement in the developing blockbuster.

News about Jeffrey Wright’s possible role as Gordon broke the internet yesterday, as fans reacted with joy at seeing such a killer actor taking on the iconic role. There hasn’t been any official confirmation about Wright’s inclusion in The Batman, but the actor recently responded to Matt Reeves’ Twitter post about Batman Day. Check it out for yourself below.

If Jeffrey Wright isn’t actually playing James Gordon on The Batman, then he’s got a wicked sense of humor. Because he engaged Matt Reeves about Batman on the day the news broke about his possible involvement. So is this a sly confirmation of his upcoming DC debut?

Jeffrey Wright’s tweet to Matt Reeves seemingly hints at an upcoming collaboration between the two artists, one that DC fans are hoping comes to fruition. Robert Pattinson is playing a younger version of Bruce Wayne in The Batman, which will also reportedly focus on the hero’s ability as the World’s Greatest Detective. And if the Dark Knight is going to fight off his rogue gallery in the movie, he’s going to need help from his ally within the Gotham City Police Department.

As DC fans celebrated Batman Day yesterday, some exciting rumors about The Batman casting hit the internet. In addition to Jeffrey Wright’s possible rule as Commissioner Gordon, it was also reported that Jonah Hill was circling a few villain roles in Matt Reeves’ upcoming blockbuster. It looks like Reeves is seeking out some A-List talent to bring the movie to life. So what stars might be announced next?

Of course, Jeffrey Wright’s potential casting as Jim Gordon likely means the end of J.K. Simmons’ tenure as the GCPD officer. Simmons debuted as Gordon in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, in a small but exciting role. It was meant to set up his continued work with Ben Affleck’s Batman in the DCEU, but Justice League‘s poor critical and box office performance brought those plans to a screeching halt. And with Wright potentially taking on the mantle of the character, it’s hard to imagine Simmons occupying that same space.

With Commissioner Gordon having a significant presence in The Batman, I’m eager to see if Jeffrey Wright gets a long tenure in the DCEU, eventually crossing over with other characters within the shared universe. In particular, I’d love to see him interact with Rosie Perez’ Renee Montoya. Montoya is a GCPD officer and one of the main characters in Cathy Yan’s upcoming Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Logically the two characters should be colleagues, so maybe we’ll get to see them interact sometime down the line.

CinemaBlend will update you on all things The Batman as details become public. Matt Reeves’ DC blockbuster is currently set to arrive in theaters on June 25th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Watch This Deleted Yesterday Scene Turn A Beatles Classic Into An Ice Cream Commercial

This summer, director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis provided the world with a romantic-comedy hit in Yesterday. In their quest to make the film a well-paced exercise in comedy and emotion, some moments were cut from the film for time and content. A lot of those moments will be included in the film’s physical release, and we’re about to share one where a particular gag sees the classic song “She Loves You” turned into an ad for an ice cream parlor.

Take a look for yourself, below:

In this scene, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) just can’t find his way to making what he proclaims as one of the greatest songs in the world into an ad for ice cream products. To be fair, when John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song for release in 1963, one of the things they most assuredly weren’t thinking about was the brand of Nutter’s Ice Cream.

But then again, in Yesterday’s world where The Beatles don’t exist as a musical group, that song hasn’t been written at all. Still, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” would be an easier fit if you really want to get the job done. It’s funny to be exercising in this example of editing, as that very profession seems to be the best friend to this specific film.

In its various creative phases, Yesterday has been known to have gone through some significant story changes in its road to the silver screen. Not only did Danny Boyle have a specific stipulation that Richard Curtis had to re-write about 25% of the script to get him to sign on, but there was also an entire character and subplot that were deleted to make the overall romance between Jack and Lily James’ character, Ellie, more satisfying.

With the “She Loves You”/Nutter’s Ice Cream scene cut from the film, you could assume there’s two big reasons it was axed from the final cut. First of all, it feels like a gag that stops the movie in its place for a good several minutes, just so a simple joke can be told.

Second, and more importantly, the journey of Himesh Patel’s character, as well as his proclamation that these songs are the best ever written in the world, are already well stated in the film’s current form. Rather than reinforce the running gag, this particular moment feels like a redundancy that can easily be removed in the first draft of editing.

That’s not to say the “Nutter’s Ice Cream” scene from Yesterday isn’t worth watching, otherwise it wouldn’t have been released to promote the film. Himesh Patel and Lily James are both still really funny in this particular moment, with the big win going to James’ Ellie as she tells off the corporate goon that’s tasked with getting this jingle in the can.

With its history of being fine tuned into a product that won over fans and critics alike this summer, being able to watch Yesterday’s 12 deleted scenes is a great way to see just how much of the film had to be tinkered with to turn it into the hit it is now. Not to mention, there’s also an alternate opening and closing for the film, that’ll fit nicely into that same intent.

Or you could just watch Yesterday the way it was intended, in its theatrical cut. The choice is yours, but with a scene like that, you know you should give it a chance.

Uncut Gems Trailer Shows Off Adam Sandler And His Oscar Chances

Uncut Gems follows Adam Sandler in the role of Howard Ratner, a dealer in New York City’s diamond district. Howard is used to having money, and he’s used to enjoying money. However, things go sideways for Howard and he ends up in debt to some pretty serious people. His life begins to unravel, and we will be able to witness every minute.

If the trailer is any indication, it will be a free fall sort of decline for Howard. Even the trailer hits us with an incredibly fast pace from one moment to the next and there’s every reason to believe the movie will follow suit. It’s the sort of story that won’t let you catch your breath.

It also looks to be a movie about pretty terrible people living pretty terrible lives. How much we’ll sympathize with Howard’s plight, or how much we’re even supposed to, remains to be seen. 

In addition to the trailer, Uncut Gems also released a brand new poster, which shows us just how bad a day Howard is about to have.

Why Joaquin Phoenix Wanted His Joker To Be Overweight At First

If you’ve seen the trailers for Joker, you probably noticed that Joaquin Phoenix looks a lot thinner compared to his usual physique. That’s because the actor lost an astounding 52 pounds to play the Clown Prince of Crime, but Phoenix almost went in a different direction when it came to weight. It turns out that he originally wanted his version of The Joker to be overweight, both for clinical reasons and because he wasn’t keen on losing weight, something he’s had to do for other roles. Phoenix recalled:

Joaquin Phoenix recently sat down with the hosts of the ReelBlend podcast to talk about Joker, and you can listen to the full interview when it drops on October 4. That said, one of the highlights of the conversation was Phoenix’s talk about how he wanted his character, Arthur Fleck, to look. It was always his plan for Arthur to stand out physically, but he initially wanted his Joker to be on the heavier side. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips steered him in the other direction, and Phoenix acknowledged that was the better call.

During the interview, Joaquin Phoenix also mentioned about how the weight loss made him feel closer to the character of Arthur Fleck, to the point that it affected his mental state and he developed a hyper awareness of his body. In Phoenix’s words:

Joaquin Phoenix certainly isn’t the only actor to go through major weight fluctuations for a role, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Christian Bale, he eventually gets to a point where he’ll need to stop doing that. But for the purposes of delivering a compelling Joker performance, it sounds like Joaquin Phoenix is pleased with how the results turned out. Still, I’d be curious to see how Phoenix’s Joker would have turned out had he gone with his initial overweight approach.

Set in 1981 and entirely separated from the modern DC movies, Joker tells the story of how Arthur Fleck goes from a failed stand-up comedian disregarded by society to a criminal mastermind who unleashes a wave of chaos across Gotham City. With a cast that also includes Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy and many more, Joker has already earned a lot of positive reception from early screenings, while simultaneously generating controversy about its depiction of the title character.

Joker arrives in theaters on October 4. In the meantime, look through our 2019 release schedule to find out when the rest of this year’s movies are coming out, and don’t forget to subscribe to the ReelBlend podcast for instant updates, including the forthcoming Joaquin Phoenix interview.

Hustlers: 7 Big Differences Between The Movie And The Real Story

Hustlers Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu preparing for a con at the strip club

Hustlers is another one of those stories that are so outrageous, you’d think they were made up. But writer/director Lorene Scafaria’s recent box office smash is not only extremely real, it hews pretty closely to the details given in journalist Jessica Pressler’s article “The Hustlers At Scores”. Even with that in mind, there are quite a few details that were skewed and/or omitted to cause some pretty big differences from reality to present themselves.

Some are just good old Hollywood story changes, while others are pretty integral to the way Hustlers’ story works out. The reality of the situation is well represented in the film, while diverging into some more Hollywood friendly tangents that paint a different picture. It’s those fabrications and alterations that we’ll be going into today, as we dive into the history behind the hustle.

Hustlers Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez take Frank Whaley to the champagne room

The Names Were Changed To Protect The True Hustlers

One of the most obvious changes that Hustlers made to its version of the story is that it gave all of its lead characters different names. So while Constance Wu is playing Dorothy/Destiny and Jennifer Lopez has the role of Ramona, those names are screen friendly, and in a way provide distance between Scafaria’s film and the actual events that took place.

In reality, Dorothy is based off of Roselyn Keo, one of the main subjects of the Pressler interview. Another subject, and Keo’s partner in crime, Samantha Barbash, was the basis for Lopez’s Ramona Vega character; and Barbash certainly won’t let anyone involved in Hustlers forget it. Apparently, she was so displeased with the result, she threatened Jennifer Lopez and STX Entertainment with lawsuits over what she feels is defamation of character.

Hustlers Jennifer Lopez teaches Constance Wu pole dancing

The Real Life Inspiration For Hustler’s Dorothy Started As A Waitress

Another interesting point of order is Roselyn Keo’s origin story, which isn’t really given in Hustlers. In the beginning of the film, we see Constance Wu’s Dorothy already stripping at Moves, the stand-in for Scores, the real life strip club Keo would eventually strip at. But before she worked at that particular club, or even started as a stripper, Roselyn Keo was a waitress.

Jessica Pressler talks about this in “The Hustlers At Scores”, as Keo states that she was recruited into stripping by a manager from the strip club Lace. After a huge tip, and a quick, but effective pitch, Roselyn was convinced to quit waiting tables and start stripping.

Hustlers Constance Wu flashing a credit card at the mall, with a smile

Dorothy Had A Brother That Isn’t Mentioned In The Film

Roselyn Keo’s family history is pretty well represented in the movie, as the story of her being abandoned by her parents was accurately recalled in Hustlers. Much like Dorothy, Keo was raised by her grandparents, after being left behind by her parents. That said, Roselyn’s story differs yet again in its reality, as she wasn’t an only child.

There aren’t many details about her brother available in the various sources we’ve consulted, with the focus obviously being centered on Roselyn’s crimes. But instead of the fiction that pegs Hustler’s Dorothy as an only child orphaned by her parents, there was an actual second child there with her all the long.

Hustlers Wai Ching Ho looks up and smiles at Constance Wu off-screen

Dorothy’s Grandmother Died Way Before The Events Of Hustlers

Hustlers includes its fair share of downbeat moments in its version of events. But perhaps the saddest is the the death of Dorothy’s grandmother, whom she’s been supporting through her stripping in the entirety of the film. With her parents’ departure intact in this narrative, all Dorothy had in her world was her grandmother; a fact that was already partially debunked in reality with the presence of her brother.

Roselyn Keo’s grandmother actually passed when she was 16, which pre-dates the history of Dorothy’s career in Hustlers. To be precise, the film starts in 2007, and Keo’s grandmother passed around the year 2000. So rather than stripping to support the woman who raised her, Roselyn’s motivations were driven by more self-inspired reasons.

Hustlers Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu lead their girls into the mall

Roselyn And Samantha Actually Drafted Prostitutes, Not Other Strippers, To Help Them Out

Throughout the trailers for Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, there’s a core group of women shown to be in on the scams that Constance Wu’s Dorothy and Jennifer Lopez’s Ramona are running. Joining Dorothy and Ramona in their quest were numerous other strippers, with Mercedes (Keke Palmer) and Annabelle (Lili Reinhart) being two of the featured co-conspirators in the grand con.

In terms of how Roselyn Keo and Samantha Barbash ran their actual con, they weren’t as exclusive in their company. The truth happens to be that rather than using fellow strippers to help carry the load, like in Hustlers’ version of events, Keo and Barbash actually drafted prostitutes to help them play their cons. The unreliable nature of the girls who were brought in as time went on is factually accurate, with a differing pool of employment being used by Roselyn and Jennifer’s real scheme.

Hustlers Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez hanging out on a rooftop couch

Dorothy And Ramona’s Relationship Is Friendlier Than Roselyn And Jennifer’s Actual Story

A scene that most folks will probably be talking about in the same breath as the mention Jennifer Lopez’s Oscar chances is the final moment that we see transpire between her and Constance Wu’s Dorothy. As the latter is revealed to have taken a plea deal, despite the former’s best wishes, the women embrace and emotionally say goodbye. It’s a moment that feels right at home in a movie, but the truth was as far from this version of events as you could get.

In fact, a Vulture article written by Hunter Harris, entitled “From Stripper Pole to Tent Pole”, states that the two strippers weren’t exactly the best of friends. Rather, their relationship seems to have been that of perfect co-conspirators at work, as opposed to the mother/daughter bond that was present in the film. This fact is only further corroborated by Roselyn Keo, who, in an interview for The Oprah Magazine, actually said she wanted Dorothy to kick Ramona’s ass in that last goodbye. Similar to the depiction of their friendship, Hustlers’ version of Keo wildly differs from reality as well.

Hustlers Constance Wu looks towards the camera with disdain

The Real Dorothy Wasn’t As Easily Redeemable As Her Film Counterpart

Dorothy in Hustlers is a criminal entrepreneur, for sure; but by the end of the film, she’s seen as someone who’s alone and regretting her decisions. There’s even a hopeful note at the end of the film, where we see that Ramona still wants to be her friend, and keeps a photo of Dorothy from when she was a child. That’s version of events travels down a different fork in the road of reality, as Roselyn Keo and Samantha Barbash don’t even talk anymore.

And on top of that, as we saw above, Roselyn would have preferred that Hustlers end with Dorothy telling Ramona off for one last time, rather than have a tearful farewell. While she’s a stay at home mom on the up and up, Keo is still very much a hustler. So much so that she’s been known to say that she and Jordon Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street himself, should go on motivational speaking tours. If that’s not a match made in heaven, we don’t know what is.

Stories vary depending on who tells them, and a fictional movie like Hustlers doesn’t have to get it all right. Looking into the changes made to the true story, like the ones we’ve gone over above, it’s usually to serve the sort of story the creator behind its inception wants to set out. While the end result is an enjoyable narrative, it’s always good to keep in mind the line between fact and fiction, and how finely it’s drawn when enjoying a film such as this.

To that effect, we’d like to leave you with some source material to enjoy, should you want to dig deeper into real-life Dorothy. Roselyn Keo. If you’re interested in reading Jessica Pressler’s “The Hustlers At Scores”, you can find it online courtesy of The Cut. There’s even a follow up interview with Keo that Vulture ran in honor of Hustlers’ opening. Should you be interested in seeing more of the differences between the reality and the fantasy that is Hustlers, there are pieces from Slate and History vs. Hollywood that further detail the road up to the film’s production, and just how accurate it really was.

Naturally, Hustlers is in theaters now, and available for a first or fifth viewing. But if you’re looking for something new at the movies, you should head to our 2019 release schedule to see what else is ready to lighten your wallet at the box office.

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Yes, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix Have Tossed Around Joker 2 Ideas

A character study of the highest caliber, Todd Phillips’s relentlessly intense Joker has elicited strong responses from both fans and critics. Some have lauded the film, voicing their approval of Joaquin Phoenix in the title role and praising Phillips’ sure-handed direction. Others have condemned the film, noting that its depiction of mental illness may prove dangerous in today’s sociopolitical climate. Both sides have points, and both sides are going to make the movie obscene amounts of money. If anything, such controversy makes the film an even more attractive option for a planned movie night. Even Scott Snyder, one of the greatest comic writers around, recognized that playing it safe would be a bad idea.

Joker‘s pre-release success begs the question: Has there been talk of a sequel? Is a sequel something the studio wants? According to Phillips himself, ideas have been thrown around. But that doesn’t mean such a movie is happening. Here’s what he said during an interview with Reelblend co-host Jake Hamilton:

There you have it, folks. It’s likely that the two would be working on a scene together, and one would say something like, “Hey, what if he eventually…” That was probably the extent of the discussion, and it should have been. Everything we have seen, heard and read about Todd Phillips’ new film indicates that this is a story told best in one chapter.

A sequel runs the risk of belaboring any point the film might attempt to make, and both Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix recognize the dangers that accompany that risk. Those two are smart dudes. However, this won’t stop diehards from thinking wishfully and possibly putting forth petitions (half-kidding). It’s great to be passionate, and it’s even better to be passionate and understanding toward a creator’s vision.

Knowing when to leave a property alone is a valuable lesson many studios, directors and other types of creators haven’t learned. Also, The Joker is a scary guy to play, and not just because he’s The Joker. Heath Ledger’s jaw-dropping performance was also incredibly intimidating, and Phoenix wanted to get the character right so badly.

Joker stars Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Frances Conroy and a number of other immensely talented performers. Todd Phillips and Scott Silver serve as co-writers on the film. So yeah, there is solid talent involved.

Joker is scheduled to hit theaters on October 4. Do you have your tickets yet? Are you excited for Joaquin Phoenix’s take on The Joker? How do you think he would react to meeting Batman? Let us know in the comments section below and remember to check out what else is hitting theaters in 2019!