In the wake of David O. Russell's American Hustle, we've heard a lot about the real people the film is partly based on. We know it's a loose retelling of the infamous Abscam scandal that rocked New York City headlines in the late '70s, and that many of the Oscar-nominated ensemble are based on real people. We know that the guy at the center of the story, Mel Weinberg (Christian Bale), is still alive and living in Florida (and pretty happy with the film) , and that the woman Jennifer Lawrence played (Cynthia Weinberg, Mel's wife)) sadly took her own life not long after this whole thing was made public in the early 1980s. Bradley Cooper was based on a guy named Anthony Amoroso Jr., though others have said he was a mix of various FBI agents, and Jeremy Renner was based on a very real politician from New Jersey named Angelo Errichetti.
But what about Amy Adams? What's interesting is that Adams' character, an American who poses as a sophisticated British woman in order to help Bale's con man seem more legit, wasn't really part of the whole Abscam thing. Evelyn Knight was her name, and yes she was Mel's mistress, and yes she was younger than him by 19 years, but she was also British, not American. And while she did help Mel con some folks prior to their arrest (reportedly milking singer Wayne Newton out of $800), she was not a part of the subsequent FBI sting and did not seduce any of the FBI agents.
In fact, when the dust settled, Mel wound up marrying Evelyn, and while they later divorced, the two still live a few blocks away from each other in Florida. The real Evelyn is feisty, like Adams' version, and she's not happy about all the attention she's getting from Hustle. When USA Today caught up with her, she called the movie "total bulls**t" and said she wasn't involved in any of the con games. When asked about Adams' gloriously sexy low-cut dresses, she said no one dressed like that back then unless they were a hooker. (For the record, we liked the dresses. They had character!)
Neither Mel nor Evelyn has any idea why they made her character American, either, since she's British, but the movie never pretends like it's telling it like it is. The most honest moment in this tale of disnhonesty actuallly comes right at the start, with the note: Some of this actually happened.
And some of it didn't.
MORE: David O. Russell on 'American Hustle' and Why He Refuses to Make a Hollywood Blockbuster
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