“Hustlers” follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.
The film was inspired by the article published by New York Magazine entitled “The Hustlers at Scores” written by Jessica Pressler. We spoke with star Keke Palmer. Check out our exclusive interview!
The Knockturnal: So what did you think about the movie?
Keke Palmer: Oh I love the movie … you know you film a movie, you read the script, you film it, and it becomes all a blur kinda.You just wonder how the pieces are gonna be put together and when I saw it the main thing I remember thinking was this is so cinematic, it’s so beautiful, to be a part of this and for it to be starring all women it was just sick … the director, her intention of giving us not just a fun movie, but a movie with depth and a film that’s cinematically like major in that way …for us women, I just thought it came through real strong.
The Knockturnal: Now, what do you think about the men in the movie? Do you think that they deserved it?
Keke Palmer: I can’t say that they deserved it, right? But I also mean playing my role [as] an actress you know I have to understand her..her situation and for her to be able to do that. So from that point of view, I see why they thought it was okay. Because you have women that have been victimized even though they still have their strength, they’ve kind of been in this situation where they are constantly being victimized by these guys. And the guys have not all been kind to them. And so in a way you can see how they demonize them, just like the guys had dehumanized them. So I get it in the framework of the film and in a story.
The Knockturnal: If you weren’t an actor or a singer, what would your hustle be?
Keke Palmer: I would probably be a hairstylist. My whole family … my grandmother was a hairstylist for years, had her own salon in Chicago. My aunt, my cousin, she has a salon… so so many people in my family did hair and we’re all so creative and I think that’s what I would do. I would use that as a way to express my creativity. And then I love to talk!
The Knockturnal: So you can do a sew-in?
Keke Palmer: I can do a sew-in, I know how to do braids, a sew-in, I know how to get the exact shape that we need so that the hair can be laying down. I can do individuals, girl. I can do tracks, if you trying to do a quick weave, I do know. I’m tryna let you know girl!
The Knockturnal: I love it. So I didn’t see you get on the pole at all. Did you get on the pole? Or did you do some type of training?
Keke Palmer: I did do some type of training but there was no real moment of like “Oh Mercedes on the pole”. We did it, put a bunch of shooting moments on the stage and I played around with the pole but [there] was no real like moment for me to do anything on the pole. But I wanted to just try it … I had been wanting to try because everybody said it was a good workout. So when I had the opportunity with the movie I said “let me try it even though I don’t have to do it, I mean just try it for fun”.
The Knockturnal: Your role was both comic relief but it also introduced a realistic storyline, could you relate to Mercedes at all?
Keke Palmer: I can relate to Mercedes. I can relate to her her spirit and her energy. You know when I found out about doing the role and talked to Loreen a lot of those elements that she was looking for the character I have. You know, it just trying to make light of a moment but not really you know, really just saying what’s on her mind and it coming off funny but making sure that it’s grounded. The fact that she just wants to help those around her, she wants to you know get a man help a man get on his feet -I mean, I think anybody can relate to that. I don’t know if I’d go as far as druggin’ folks to do it, you know what I mean? But I can relate to her just as a young woman in her situation. I can I got her a lot.
The Knockturnal: So how did you approach the role of Mercedes?
Keke Palmer: I approached it as I do any of my other roles, I look at the framework of the storyline, I look at the world they’re living in, I get a sense, an idea of who does this girl remind me of? Does she remind me of a cousin? Does she remind me of me? You know? Maybe what was her family life like? Is she in school? Did she go to school? I kind of just identify who she is, and then I going to the look which also gives me a feeling of how to become that character and the hair was really important to me. With what style would she rock? Okay I feel like she might be a natural girl, so we have those those curls out, okay? And her outfit, is she in Baby Phat or she’s in Apple Bottoms? So she’s you know, that chill chick and she kind of got that sporty vibe.
The Knockturnal: Like “I’m from Chicago.”
Keke Palmer: Yeah, Exactly so it’s like I just created with the team and also of course with my own thoughts and it becomes a person.
The film is now playing.