Published 6:22 PM EDT Sep 11, 2019
As Jennifer Lopez heads into this weekend’s opening of “Hustlers” buoyed by Oscar buzz, she’s sticking by co-star Constance Wu.
The two portray best friends and strippers in “Hustlers,” with Lopez playing mama bear dancer Ramona to Wu’s wide-eyed ingenue Destiny.
But rumors of Wu’s alleged diva-like behavior on the set have made headlines since the film wrapped, and Wu previously faced criticism in May after she tweeted negatively when her ABC show “Fresh Off the Boat” was renewed. (Wu, who is under contract, has since apologized for her reaction, saying she had been bummed to forgo doing a play she was passionate about.)
Now Lopez is defending her co-star. “I have the most amazing relationship with Constance. She was a doll baby to me on the set and to everybody every time I was on the set,” Lopez tells USA TODAY.
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There was no bad behavior, Lopez insists.
“It was 29 days and I was there most days,” says Lopez. “I don’t know if there was somebody (talking to the media) who had a gripe or she had a bad day one day. Who knows? I know how this can go sometimes, and how really nice, good people can be portrayed as something other than what they are. That’s a fun headline for people but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. My experience with her was lovely. We became really great friends.”
Lopez notes that “making movies is hard” between pre-dawn call times, 12- to 16-hour days and late nights. “People are allowed to get cranky sometimes. I’m not saying that was her. But everybody’s human. So I don’t know where that came from but it wasn’t my experience at all. I love her. And she’s great in the this movie, too.”
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Director Lorene Scafaria (“The Meddler”) tells USA TODAY she took rumors of Wu’s bad behavior personally, adding that she thinks “there’s dash of racism and a dash of sexism” in the negative coverage of Wu.
“I found it to be just a real insult to my set, to be honest,” says Scafaria. “We had such an incredible time together. Everyone got along so well. Jennifer and Constance had this instant chemistry with each other and really did have this big sister/little sister relationship.”
Wu recently admitted to the Los Angeles Times that she can be “dramatic,” and said she was still learning how to cope with the level of fame that followed “Crazy Rich Asians.”
The online brouhaha “improved my awareness of what it means to be a … public figure,” she told the LA Times. “I’ve had a back-and-forth about it. It’s the line between being a role model but also authenticity.”
Wu noted how social media can cloud perception.
“I think a lot of why people are lonely in this world is because they go through these Instagram feeds and everybody’s life is perfect,” she said. “Nobody trips up. And sometimes I think, might it be good to see our heroes mess up a little bit and not always be perfect?”