With David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” getting a significant share of attention this awards season, moviegoers are getting a kick out of spotting swingin’ years pop music icon Jack Jones performing “I’ve Got Your Number” in in the film. Jones tells us he’s been stunned by the recognition coming his way for his quick, unidentified appearance, particularly critics who’ve cited it as a favorite movie moment.
“I never expected that,” admits the Grammy-winning vocalist. “It’s about the beginning of [the characters’] life together, which is very meaningful, so I’m lucky in that respect. I told David O. Russell, ‘I’m glad you didn’t show me any more than you did because then it would have become a Doris Day movie.'”
Jones’ esteem for Russell goes beyond the movie set. “I think he’s one of the most emotionally sensitive directors in the business,” he says. “He has an autistic son, and I don’t want to speak out of school, but one of the nights between when I prercorded the song and when we shot the scene, he asked me to come to dinner with him. There’s a school up there in Boston for autistic children, and he invited some of the kids that were available and the parents to dinner, and he invited me in on that.”
Adds the singer, “I was so impressed by his diligence and his connection and his priorities. When he was working so hard, he was also taking care of those people. I think that is one of the reasons he is such a good director. He’s got what we used to call ‘sympatico.’ He just gets it.”
Jones flew to Boston for the shoot. The city’s Copley Plaza Hotel substituted for New York’s Plaza Hotel in the sequence. “It was two weeks before the [Boston Marathon] bombing, and we used one of the ballroom areas to shoot the scene and then of course we know what happened,” he says. “The thing that curdles your blood a little is that the room we were in was actually used as a triage area two weeks later — because right outside is where it happened. I wasn’t going to talk about it until now. The movie’s out,” adds Jones.
Not surprisingly, he finds the film, in which Christian Bale and Amy Adams play two 1970s era con artists forced by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to set up an elaborate sting operation, “a great movie. Christian Bale is flabbergasting, with the extent to which he went with that role. I was enthralled by the performances. They’re outstanding actors,” he says of the cast that also includes Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner.
As for himself, Jones has been busy bopping between performing engagements, celebrating his daughter’s graduation from Boise State, and attending the current Palm Springs International Film Festival. “I go every year,” says Jones, a desert resident and Palm Springs Walk of Stars honoree. This year, he has “American Hustle” adding a fresh bit of luster to his filmic resume.