'Hollywood Remixed': Lorene Scafaria on 'Hustlers' and Upending Stripper Tropes

Diana King
Lorene Scafaria

In the fourth episode of The Hollywood Reporter's new podcast, hosts Rebecca Ford and Rebecca Sun explore the way female exotic dancers have been portrayed in film.

Welcome to the fourth episode of Hollywood Remixed, The Hollywood Reporter's podcast about culture change and inclusion in entertainment.

Each week, hosts Rebecca Sun (senior reporter) and Rebecca Ford (awards editor) explore a type of character or story that traditionally has been underrepresented or misrepresented in pop culture, and interview a special guest whose work exemplifies a new breakthrough in representation. Each episode is dedicated to a single theme, revisiting groundbreaking classics and introducing listeners to hidden gems, in order to better understand how film and television in the past have shaped progress in the present.

In episode four, "Exposing Hollywood's Stripper Tropes with the Director of Hustlers," debuting Nov. 27, the Rebeccas explore the portrayal of female exotic dancers in film.

Strippers and exotic dancers have been a rite of passage on many a major actress' filmography, from Joanne Woodward (in 1963's The Stripper) to Jennifer Aniston (in 2013's We're the Millers). But most of these portrayals tend to depict the profession as a last-resort for desperate women – or simply an excuse to ogle a movie star in compromising positions. Films centered on the world of female strippers tend to fall more in the camp camp rather than the awards crowd (unless you're talking about Showgirls and Striptease vying for the Razzies' worst picture of the decade), with the exception of the latest entry in the canon – STX's true-crime pic Hustlers.

Later in the episode, the Rebeccas talk to Hustlers director Lorene Scafaria – incidentally, one of the few women to helm a movie in the genre – about her research into the industry and how she filmed awards-contender Jennifer Lopez through the female gaze. She reveals that she used sports movies as one of the main inspirations for her film, which is based on the true story of a group of dancers who band together to take money from their wealthy clients.

Hear it all now on Hollywood Remixed, and subscribe on your preferred podcasting platform. In the coming weeks, the Rebeccas will welcome The L Word: Generation Q showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan, who will chat about the evolution of lesbian characters onscreen, and the team behind A&E's award-winning unscripted series Born This Way, about adults living with Down Syndrome. And check out our first three episodes of Hollywood Remixed, featuring Last Christmas star Henry Golding on Asian leading men, This Is Us and Waves star Sterling K. Brown on black fatherhood and The Good Place's William Jackson Harper on black nerds.