September’s Hustlers, starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, earned more than $157 million at the worldwide box office. It is STX Entertainment’s second highest-grossing global film ever and fall’s surprise breakout hit. But just in case Wu wasn’t fairly compensated (we’re confident she was), we now know for certain that she’s more than capable of taking care of herself.
To prepare for Hustlers, which follows a group of exotic dancers as they launch a daring scheme to make ends meet, Wu went all out to get into character. “I did work at a strip club,” she revealed on The Kelly Clarkson Show. “I went undercover.”
Apparently, it went quite well.
“Stripped,” Wu explained when asked what she had to do. “I gave lap dances to strangers. I made 600 bucks my first night.”
If we extrapolate that to a five-day work week across 12 months, she’s looking at roughly $156,000 per year. Clearly, Lopez’s Ramona taught her well.
Actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Angelina Jolie and Hilary Swank are known for the extremes they’ll go to for getting into character. And while that method acting works for them, it sounds as if Wu’s motivation was far simpler. She just wanted to experience “that feeling—because you can’t duplicate it—[of] the first time you walk into a club and say, ‘Hey, I would like to have a job here,’ and then you go work that night.”
NBA players shoot thousands of practice shots before stepping onto the court; boxers and MMA fighters train for months before walking into the ring. Why should acting be any different? In addition to her undercover work, Wu also worked with a personal coach and installed a stripper pole in her living room for extra practice. The 37-year-old actress is committed to her craft and the audience is the greatest beneficiary.
Wu will next appear in the sixth season of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, which debuts later this month. On the big screen, she voices a role in the animated Wish Dragon and co-stars in the dramedy Low Budget Ethnic Movie, both set for release later this year.