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Mindhole Blowers: 15 Facts You Might Not Know About David O. Russell's 'American Hustle'

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | March 19, 2014 | Comments ()


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1. As most of you know, American Hustle is based on a true story. How much of that story is true? A fair amount, actually. The Christian Bale character did exist (Mel Weinberg), he did own a dry-cleaning and a glass-installation business, he was a con artist, and he did help the FBI take down a mayor, six congressman and a senator on bribery charges. As in the movie, he also only cooperated with the Feds after they threatened to prosecute his mistress (Amy Adams), and like in the David O. Russell film, a fake sheikh was used in the scheme to take down the politicians. (via)

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2. Not only did Weinberg (upon whom Bale’s character is based) avoid a three-year prison sentence for cooperating in the Abscam investigation, he also received a $150,000 payment from taxpayers for his assistance. (via)

2. The Jennifer Lawrence character was based on Marie Weinberg, although the character and the real-life Marie did not have that much in common. Marie did not, for instance, sleep with a mobster. However, after her husband testified in the Abscam trial, Marie accused Mel — with whom she was seeking a divorce — of accepting a $45,000 payment from one of the defendants. A week after making that accusation, Marie hanged herself, leaving this suicide note: “My sin was wanting to love and be loved, nothing more. But [a] campaign is being made by Mel to discredit me. I haven’t the strength to fight him anymore…. Everything I have attested to is the truth.” (via)

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4. Metal in a science oven does not cause fires, nor do microwaves remove the nutritional value from food, as alleged by Jennifer Lawrence’s character in the movie. (via)

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5. American Hustle — along with last year’s David O. Russell film Silver Linings Playbook — was the only film to boast Oscar nominees in all four major categories in the last 30 years. Moreover, not only had all four actors been Oscar nominated before American Hustle, they’d all been nominated for other David O. Russell films.

5. Ben Affleck was originally asked to direct American Hustle, which had been called American Bullsh*t (the script, in fact, was 8th on Hollywood’s Black List in 2010). Affleck declined so he could direct The Stand, a project that still has not come to fruition.

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6. Christian Bale gained 42 pounds, got a comb over, and slouched so badly that, when Robert DeNiro was on the set, he didn’t recognize Bale and had to ask Russell who that strange man was on set. Bale actually was originally offered the lead role, but had to decline due to a scheduling commitment, so Cooper took over the lead role. Scheduling conflicts were later resolved, allowing Bale to retake the lead role.

Moreover, due to the weight gain, Bale herniated two discs and purportedly suffered a permanent height loss of 3 inches. (During filming, Bale apparently also insisted that he be referred to only by his character name.) (via)

7. Interestingly, though the script was on The Black List, and though Russell rewrote it specifically for Bale, Adams, Cooper, and Lawrence — who he had in mind all along — most of the dialogue was actually improvised because Russell didn’t give a rat’s ass about plot. All he cared about were the characters.

8. During the marketing run-up to American Hustle, every time Amy Adams’ three-year-old daughter would walk by an American Hustle movie poster, she would ask Adams, “Mommy, why are you always showing your boobs?” (via)

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9. The scene in which Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams’ character kissed was all Amy Adams’ idea, and though there may be character justifications for it, Adams confessed, “Maybe I just wanted to kiss Jennifer. She’s so cute!” (via)

10. The brilliant ice-fishing story that Louis C.K.’s character told during the movie was improvised on the set. It did have an ending, but it was cut from the film. The ending involved the character’s brother sh*tting on the ice.

11. A similar movie based on the Abscam story, Moon Over Miami, was developed in the 1980s, and was set to star Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. However, the film was scuttled after Belushi’s death.

12. Jennifer Lawrence had to have duplicates of several of her dresses made because she had a knack for staining them while eating Doritos. (via)

13. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Rohm played a married couple in American Hustle, Carmine and Dolly Polito. They’ve also worked together before, in an episod eof Angel.

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14. Interestingly, Senator John Murtha was also targeted in the Abscam investigation, but he did not accept the bribe. It was Charlie Wilson, actually, he saved him from censure in Congress. Wilson, of course, was played by Tom Hanks in another movie, which also starred Amy Adams.

15. The perm? Entirely Bradley Cooper’s idea.

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American Hustle was released on DVD and Blu Ray on March 18th.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Maddy

    I still haven't seen this movie, and I'm still not that motivated to watch it. One day I will get around to it.

  • Uriah_Creep

    12. Jennifer Lawrence had to have duplicates of several of her dresses
    made because she had a knack for staining them while eating Doritos.

    What, Hollywood doesn't know about napkins?

  • Uriah_Creep

    “Mommy, why are you always showing your boobs?”

    Beause they are GLORIOUS, young girl. Because they are glorious.

  • Aidan

    Did you know that in real life, the man who played the fake sheikh was Brian Dennehy's brother? That's a real mind blower.

  • kirbyjay

    Michael Pena? He's actually Mexican American.

  • Aidan

    "in real life" as in the true story, the real life person who played the shiek.

  • kirbyjay

    Oh sorry, read over that part. Brain fart. Even so, it must have been weird for an obviously Irish American to play and Arab. Just like Hollywood, only the white guys get the parts.
    I love trivia so thanks for the info.

  • John G.

    microwave ovens do leach nutrients from food, just like all forms of heating do.

  • John G.

    You forgot the most important one, that this pile of boring crap got all this adoration and attention just because it had popular people in it playing dress up with wigs.

  • Parsnip

    Was the perm Cooper's attempt to stand out? I mean he was up against Bale's weight gain and comb over.

  • e jerry powell

    "Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Rohm played a married couple in American Hustle, Carmine and Dolly Polito."
    Is it because she's a lesbian?

    Bradley Cooper thought that walking around in public with perm rods gave him street cred.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Maybe it's my hangover, but those gifs are nauseating me.

  • Jiffylush

    Are they intentionally seizure inducing? Most specifically the perm one.

  • BlackRabbit

    Especially that jerky last one. Also, please tell me that I'm not the only one who, when they see the title for this film, has that song start up in their head: "Do the hustle!"

  • DarthCorleone

    Fun facts - thanks!

  • BendinIntheWind

    "...most of the dialogue was actually improvised because Russell didn’t give a rat’s ass about plot. All he cared about were the characters."

    This explains so much.

  • junierizzle

    Totally! It's no wonder it won the SAG Cast award. Actors vote and what actor doesn't want to show up on set and do whatever they feel like it. I'm all for improvisation but even that has to be directed.

  • My thought exactly. I kind of liked the movie, but would have liked it way better if the movie even knew where it was going.

  • dizzylucy

    Exactly - I really liked it quite a bit and look forward to seeing it again, but I freely admit the story was all over the place.

  • cruzzercruz

    I don't get the love for Russell's movies or why he's always at the Oscars. Every one I see leaves me feeling resoundingly "meh."

  • I saw American Hustle with two of my friends and we all fell asleep in the theater multiple times.

  • cruzzercruz

    I've fallen asleep in a theater three times. During Mortal Kombat, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Prestige. I regret two of those instances.

  • poopnado

    I LOVE The Fighter. Everything else I've seen has been pretty meh. I think he plays the Oscar game well. He works with outstanding actors and epic story lines. The combination of the two SHOULD be great every time, but most of the time it feels cobbled together and falls flat at the end.

  • Davis

    You forgot the oscar noms that blew my mind

  • rio

    you mean best editing?

  • Davis

    no all of them

  • rio

    ha ha I walked right into that one. The editing for me was the worse part, but the entire thing was a disaster. Holy moly was that movie bad.

  • makayli verran

    My Uncle Jacob got a year 2013 Audi TT RS Coupe by working
    part time online. imp source F­i­s­c­a­l­P­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m

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