After The Fighter and Silver Linings Playlist, I never doubted that David O. Russell’s American Hustle would be a great film. What surprised me, though, is how it transformed the over-the-top, slightly sleazy aesthetic of its 1978 setting into something truly seductive and sexy. Seriously, I’m scared that men are going to start following Christian Bale’s example and start sporting hairpiece-assisted combovers. When I spoke to Bale, Russell, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, I grilled them about what they found sexy about the era.
“Body hair on men,” said Adams, whose character Sydney is at one point seen working at Cosmopolitan, where a giant version of Burt Reynolds‘ 1972 nude centerfold shows body hair at its most glorious moment. “I don’t like that men shave and wax now. I don’t need ‘full bear,’ although if that’s how the man came, I would accept it. I like a MAN.”
While Adams and co-star Jennifer Lawrence were wearing fashions made famous by ’70s icons like Julie Christie and Diane von Furstenberg, the cast is still surprised that its Bale’s shlumpy con-man Irv who comes off as the most attractive.
“Christian’s very sexy,” Cooper told us. “He’s got a comb-over and he gained 30 lbs and he’s the sexiest he’s ever been.”
“I think it’s the surprise, ’cause a couple people have said that, and I’ve gone, ‘What?!’ ” Bale said modestly. “What kind of fetish is this?”
What did Bale find sexiest in the ’70s? After an adorable answer about his elementary school crushes, he finally gave up one celebrity name: Princess Leia. God, we love you, Christian.
Check out the gallery above for a closer look at American Hustle’s ’70s glamour and the real-life icons that inspired it.