Lorene Scafaria, the writer and director of the upcoming “stripper heist” film Hustlers, may go down in the “shoot your shot” hall of fame. Knowing that the film needed to feature Cardi B, but not knowing Cardi personally, Scafaria told Vulture in a new profile she did the only thing she could think of to get the rap star’s attention: She slid in Cardi’s Instagram DMs. While that particular tactic has likely failed for countless men since Cardi first rose to fame, it worked for Scafaria, who cast the rapper alongside fellow Bronx-born Latina Jennifer Lopez in her upcoming film.
Of course, back then, she had no clue how closely Cardi’s real-life experience matched the film’s premise. Hustlers is loosely based on a 2015 New York magazine story that followed a ring of strippers who used drugs and manipulation to rob wealthy men in the New York area by running up huge credit card tabs, knowing the men would be unlikely to report them to authorities. But Scafaria so thoroughly believed that Cardi was the right choice that she “chased Cardi for two years,” she says in the Vulture interview.
She says she did something similar to get Lizzo, “chasing” her for a year, and knew that Jennifer Lopez would star as soon as she finished the script. However, just because her DM tactic worked doesn’t mean she and Cardi now exchange text messages on the regular. She jokes that “I have two phone numbers in my cell: Cardi 1 and Cardi 2. I’m not sure if either of them are actually Cardi.”