'The Hustle' Features Customizable $55K Jewelry Safe

The Hustle-Publicity Still-H 2019
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

A pricey watch and jewelry safe by Buben & Zorweg was created for the female-centric remake of 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.'

Leave it to the ladies to add a splash of style to their grift.

Among the design details in Chris Addison's comedy The Hustle, starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, it’s easy for those in the audience to catch more than one glimpse of a custom safe crafted in leather and stainless steel. From cash to jewels, that’s where Hathaway’s character stores the bounty from the duo’s schemes, and the MGM-produced film spared no expense in sourcing a safe that suits its posh surroundings.

The piece is by Buben & Zorweg, a German firm that specializes in customizable watch and jewelry safes, and is from the brand’s Orion collection. The medium, 50-inch-high safe seen in The Hustle is outfitted with shelves and drawers containing jewelry inserts and standard eight watch winders (up to 24 can be included in that size); the style as shown carries a retail price of $55,300.

In this female-centric remake of 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin (itself an update from 1964’s Bedtime Story, with David Niven and Marlon Brando), the graphite-hue leather safe is indeed a fashionable upgrade — in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Caine uses a nondescript wall safe, while the device is never seen in the 1964 original.

Via Seesaw Media, a London and Beverly Hills-based agency that specializes in product placements for film and television, the production reached out to Buben & Zorweg in the spring of 2017, says Michael Arnsteiner, who heads up international marketing for the brand, which is based in Ölbronn-Dürrn, a German municipality near Stuttgart. "We talked about how long it would take to produce the piece they wanted, and we also discussed their need to be able to fix a camera inside the safe, so they could shoot from the inside looking out," Arnsteiner explains.  

An average of 14 weeks is required to craft the Orion safe, which was then transported to London, where interiors of The Hustle were filmed in September 2017. "It’s a freestanding safe, but in the film it’s positioned as though it’s built into a wall," notes Arnsteiner, who has seen the comedy twice since it opened and adds that artisans and others in the company — totaling roughly 55 employees based in Germany — plan to see the film together in a couple of weeks. "Of course it’s a source of pride for us," he adds. "There’s one scene in which Anne Hathaway puts something inside and closes the door, and there’s a wonderful sound it makes when the door closes. Hearing that made me smile."

This is Buben & Zorweg’s first experience with product placement; there were discussions of inclusion in the 2015 James Bond film Spectre, but nothing came to fruition from those talks, while a smaller model is expected to be included in an upcoming installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. And the brand must be picking up fans along the way: A member of the cast liked the safe used in The Hustle so much, they purchased it once filming was complete. Arnsteiner is mum on that name, though. "Discretion is a big part of what we do," he says.