Inside the Homes of ‘American Hustle’

Learn how production designer Judy Becker injected authentic ‘70s style into American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.
By: Susan Hornik
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Photo By: © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Alex Linde, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Alex Linde, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Francois Duhamel, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Francois Duhamel, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Alex Linde, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Alex Linde, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Alex Linde, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Alex Linde, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Photo By: Alex Linde, © 2013 Annapurna Productions

Set Design Secrets From American Hustle

Directed by David O. Russell, American Hustle is a crime comedy-drama loosely based on the fascinating FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early '80s. To create the look of the film, Russell turned to Judy Becker, his longtime collaborator who also worked with him on The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. See how Becker created the look of two of the film’s most notable sets: the sleek and sophisticated apartment of Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), and the over-the-top ranch house of Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Jennifer Lawrence).

Sydney's Apartment

Production designer Judy Becker says Sydney’s (played by Amy Adams) apartment was one of her favorite sets from the film. “It’s sexy – the apartment of a woman who would look cool at Studio 54,” she says. Inspired by "White Brick" apartment buildings on Manhattan's Upper East Side popular among single women in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the set was minimal and stylish with vintage parquet floor tiles and neutral grasscloth walls.

Sydney's Kitchen

Some of the elements from Sydney’s apartment, such as the yellow bentwood stools, were based on Becker’s own childhood memories. “In fact, we still have the stools at my family summer house!” she says.

Sydney's Bedroom

Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) in Sydney’s Upper East Side bedroom. The room features a custom-designed fabric wall.

Rosalyn's House

While Sydney’s apartment was sleek and minimalist, Rosalyn’s (played by Jennifer Lawrence) house was as bold as can be. The film’s set designers completely transformed a vintage ranch house in Medford, Mass., leaving only the original stone fireplace as-is.

Rosalyn's Family Room

Every inch of the house was covered in vintage foil-patterned wallpaper, carpeted, furnished and switched out with vintage appliances. “It may not be tasteful, but it’s a feast for the eyes – and tells you immediately who Rosalyn is,” says Becker.

Rosalyn's Family Room

Becker says they scouted many ranch houses in Medford, but they were attracted to this one for its layout. The family room leads directly into a casual dining area.

Rosalyn's Eating Area

In this casual dining space, a bold floral wallpaper is paired with blue dining chairs. “Everything is based on reality and our research, but it looks a little over the top,” says Becker.

Rosalyn's Dining Room

Possibly the most over-the-top space of all, the dining room is lined with gold wallpaper and topped with a chandelier.

Rosalyn's Bedroom

After a massive home transformation such as this one, everything has to be restored to its original state. “Restoration is a big part of our workload, and one that not many people know about since it does not appear onscreen!” Becker says.

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