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10 New Things We Learned About 'American Hustle:' De Niro Didn't Recognize Christian Bale, Why Bradley Cooper Curled His Hair & More

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire December 11, 2013 at 9:25AM

We attended the "American Hustle" press conference and learned these 10 new things about the film, which will be released on Friday.
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American Hustle

By now, you've no doubt heard about some of the surprising elements of David O. Russell's "American Hustle:" Christian Bale's dramatic physical transformation into an overweight, balding middle aged man, the crazy 70s outfits with their plunging necklines and, of course, the real shocker: the smooch between Jennifer Lawrence's character (Roslyn) and Amy Adams (Sydney). But after attending the press conference for "American Hustle" last weekend in New York, we've got more delectable tidbits about the movie, which opens in theaters on Friday, December 13th.

Here are the latest things we learned about "American Hustle:"

1. Jennifer Lawrence sings "Live and Let Die" because Russell had a "vision."

"We were going to go over the script before we started shooting and David said he had a vision of me (as Roslyn) wearing yellow cleaning gloves and running through the entire house singing 'Live and Let Die.' I thought that sounded incredible, but how is it going to make sense? I was just like 'sure, I'll dance. I'll sing. Whatever.' She (Roslyn) is so angry and she's at this point where she's been lied to for so long and she's been left out of everything and she's getting to the point that this marriage she' been fighting for for so long, she's been imprisoning this man and this marriage for so many years, she's finally ready to just let it die. So I think that was a really great moment. I threw my neck out actually!" -- Jennifer Lawrence

2. Robert De Niro didn't recognize Christian Bale in character.

"When he (De Niro) met the whole cast, he shook their hands the day we shot their scene....After he met everybody, he (pointed at Christian Bale) and said 'who's that guy?' I said 'you just shook his hand. That's Christian Bale.' And he said, 'no, that guy.' And I said, 'that's Christian Bale.' He just stared and said, 'wow, he looks so different. It's great.' He didn't realize he had just met him (Christian Bale) and I had to reintroduce them." -- David O. Russell

Read More: David O. Russell on Romance, Working with a Star-Studded Cast and the Art of Reinvention

Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in "American Hustle"
Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in "American Hustle"

3. The infamous kiss between Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams was Adams' idea, but Lawrence brought it to life. 

"I feel like Jennifer really made that contribution. I came up with the idea, but she executed it in a way that felt driven from character. It didn't feel like just a moment in which twp girls are going to kiss on screen. It was from somewhere emotional. She killed it… the laugh she gets afterwards, that was genius. I didn't direct it. I just thought 'what if she plants one on her?' Jennifer executed that in the brilliant way that sells it comedically and dramatically. It never feels like it shouldn't have been there. It feels so organic and that's Jennifer." -- Amy Adams

4. Amy Adams used dancing to get into her character.

"I was trained as a dancer, so it's always been a part of how I storytell. It's through my body, through movement. One of the things that struck me once I had the wardrobe and I knew she (Sydney) would be a sexual being, about people who really had an elegance to their sexuality...For me, dancing was how I started to feel her. I thought about Ann Margret and Cyd Charisse, they seemed like they were in control because of the way they moved their bodies. I thought about that in the moment." -- Amy Adams

American Hustle

5. Why Bradley Cooper had to curl his hair to play Richie DiMaso.

"The spirit that David was creating was all informed by this idea that he's a child really. He's a young boy. He, Richie, not David O. Russell! He wanted me (as Richie) to look different, maybe I'd be a bit unrecognizable. We thought maybe curly hair. Then David thought he (Richie) curls his own hair because he wants to look different. He wants to be like these guys who he thinks are archetypes of men to him." -- Bradley Cooper

7. Christian Bale thinks acting is like dreaming - and it's addictive.

"Everybody at night, they dream and they tend to go a little insane and that's acceptable because we're dreaming. Acting is a little bit of that for me, like dreaming in the waking state. You get to study people and you go insane about something and it's expected -- and the more that you are (insane), the better it is. I find that very addictive." -- Christian Bale

8. To get into her character, Jennifer Lawrence enters a meditative state. 

"Acting is a study of people. It's all of these things that I've been doing since I was little that were always useless in Kentucky, just watching people and being able to figure out a person and what kind of person are you playing? How do they move? How do they walk? Between action and cut, it's almost like meditating in a weird way. Anything that you're feeling -- if I'm cold between action and cut, I'm not. If I'm in physical pain between action and cut, I'm not. I'm in a completely different frame of mind and it's a high." -- Jennifer Lawrence

9. De Niro signed on (in an uncredited part of Victor Tellegio), in part, because he liked the idea of a mobster who spoke Arabic.

"De Niro is extremely meticulous when he's really passionate about something and we had endless conversations. He loved the fact that this man (Tellegio) spoke Arabic -- which happens to be one of the true things in the story. Truth is crazier than fiction, but there was a mobster who spoke Arabic. He (Tellegio) was based on a collection of gangsters. He (De Niro) was really into meticulously constructing this guy. He wanted to do something he'd never done before." -- David O. Russell

10. Though the original script was based on actual events, Russell always knew he wanted to fictionalize it.

"Where is fact? Where is fiction? I'm making cinema, so I'm going to tell the best myths, the best stories, the best operas from an amalgamation of true events that inspire me and true characters and fictional imagination...I'm not doing historical drama. The first script that Eric (Warren Singer) did was historical drama. Eric wrote a beautiful script that was more true to the events, but that's for another director to make." -- David O. Russell


This article is related to: David O. Russell, American Hustle, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence