Do The Hustle

Do The Hustle

by Felicia Waldman

The awards season for the best motion pictures of 2013 has been completed. Red carpets have been rolled up, and winners have been celebrated…but the excitement has not yet begun to subside in the home of Maia and Richard Suckle, a Los Angeles based Producer of the award winning film American Hustle. With an already impressive resume, this was Suckle’s first time producing a film that was nominated for every awards show from the Golden Globes to the BAFTA’s to the Oscars and every other film festival and award in between. The morning the Golden Globe nominees were announced would be the beginning of a whirlwind for both Richard and his proud and excited wife Maia. FOCUS recently sat down with Maia Suckle who was happy to reflect on being a first-timer at all of the awards shows and parties, from picking out dresses, to private jets, to being on the A-List, this was the time of her life.

FOCUS:The Golden Globes are the first big nominations of the season. Where were you when the announcement came that American Hustle was nominated and what was that morning like for you and Richard?
MAIA SUCKLE Richard was actually in Detroit shooting a TV pilot for a show called 12 Monkeys, based on the film that Atlas, the company he produces for, made almost 20 years ago, so he actually called me to tell him the nominations! It was amazing, they got seven nominations, the same as 12 Years a Slave. It was genuinely gratifying because so many people worked so hard, and to get the recognition is wonderful. I just wished we could have shared the moment together versus being on the phone.

And the Oscar nominations?
Oh we had the alarm set. We’re in bed in our pajamas, we put on the news, and he nudges me like ‘get up’. So we were looking at the TV, and they’re reeling it off, and American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave got the most nominations, they got 10 or 11 nominations, I think it was 10. If he could let himself go there, he was actually pleased. Richard very rarely will let himself go there but I was like, “You can relax now.” I was freaking out because that’s what I do best, and he was just..pleased. That’s about as animated as he gets [laughing].

Did he call anyone?
Texting started, like rampant texting between David O. Russell [director] and Chuck Roven [producer], and he’s very close with Bradley Cooper, and congratulating Christian (Bale), and Amy (Adams), and all of those things started happening at the moment, and I was like, “Can you please be with me? Can you have a moment here with me?” It was exciting… it was exciting.

Richard Suckle Golden GlobesWere you starting to think about the awards shows and what you were going to wear?
Put it this way, the premiere for American Hustle was in New York. A few weeks beforehand, myself and one of the other producers wives, Catherine Gordon said, “Lets just walk around Soho,” and we walked into Vera Wang, and she was like, “Let’s try on gowns!” and I said, ‘Nah, no.” But we did, and I found two gowns, one which I absolutely fell in love with. When I went back I said, “Rich, if there’s any chance we go to the Golden Globes, can I get this gown?” and he said, “I don’t want to look at it, I don’t want to talk about it, unless we are going to the Golden Globes.” So I told that to the manager and I said, “Can you please put this one hold?” [laughing] and he was very sweet and he put it on hold, and as soon as we heard the nominations, I said, “Can I call?” and he said, “You can make the call.” And so I made the call at 6am LA time and I got my Vera Wang gown. Vera Wang was amazing. Amazing. Not only did they send it to me, but I had three fittings in LA, and they treated me like gold. I’ve seen them treat everybody that way. Richard loves Alexander McQueen, I have six or seven dresses from him, and prior to the award shows they were running a 60% off sale here in LA and I went and I got four things. So I was stocked up.

Have you ever been to an awards show before or do you usually watch at home in your pajamas?
Home in our pajamas, in bed. No, Richard never wanted to go unless he had a reason to go.

At what point did you believe that American Hustle could be a contender for all of the important awards?
The nomination of the Golden Globes. We were very hopeful, but we are both very superstitious so we didn’t even say we’d probably be nominated. For me personally, I saw American Hustle in the last two weeks of editing and was like, “Wow!”. I was blown away, I hadn’t seen the editing since very early on in the process, and I even told David O. Russell, what came together, I was absolutely blown away. What he did was pretty amazing. Richard is way too superstitious and he couldn’t even let on. It was me, I was the one who’s like, “Oh my God Rich I really think this is amazing!” And he’s like, “We’ll see, we’ll see, we’ll see. We won’t know until 6 o’clock in the morning when they name the nominees.” He would not go there, he’s very superstitious.

Describe the process of picking out dresses, accessories, suits, shoes. Were you courted by fashion designers?
Unfortunately no, not as a producer, much to my dismay. Richard was completely dressed by Armani. Richard’s wardrobe before this whole season was jeans, tennis shirts and some ratty old t-shirts. He finally grew up, I think, during this season. He has grown up and he is now dressing the way I’ve always wished he would dress – and he loves it. He loves it. He looked beautiful throughout that whole time, went to Armani and they really took care of him They were really great. He got a few suits, a tux, shirts and some ties. I went to Vera Wang first, then to McQueen. I already owned a few things and they fitted me for a few things. Then, when it came time for the Oscars, I really was starting to sweat, like i really… the whole thing was very daunting. I even checked out a couple of rental places where you can borrow dresses, like “Rent the Runway”, and another place one of the stylists told me all the costume designers go to rent, and I tried that route. I even tried an Alexander McQueen to rent. But it was like 800 or 900 dollars to rent for the evening. I didn’t really love anything and would rather own something I love, for that kind of money.

Did you feel compelled to wear something different every time?
I was told by one of the costume designers that really what mattered was not to be seen twice in the same outfit for the Golden Globes, the BAFTA’s and The Oscars. Because a producer is not always on camera like actors are, I would have been fine if I just had something different for those three events.

Did you duplicate?
I did duplicate, not for the award shows but for some of the parties. I did. There were so many parties, the agency parties, there were far too many for my wardrobe [laughs]. So I got some really beautiful things at Alexander McQueen and I didn’t end up borrowing anything, but I got some really good things and it was fun, it was fun to do that.

Maia Suckle jetLets talk about the shows. What was first?
The very first awards show before anything else is the Palm Springs International Film Festival. And at first I wasn’t invited, then I got invited, and we took a private jet of just our people. It was so much fun!

It must have been so exciting to be at the Golden Globes?
It was thrilling. However, we found out a couple days before that as a producer’s wife, I would not be seated with my husband! When I found out I was so, so sad. Everything is focused on the nominees, it was so sad. The very first event, and I couldn’t be with him – it was so sad to me. And he was trying so hard to get us but there was no way, the table was already set. All the celebrities get their “plus one”, but not producers. I sat with another producer’s wife, Catherine Gordon, in the 2nd tier, kitty corner at our own table. It was such a good night for us because the Golden Globes separates the drama and comedy categories, and American Hustle was nominated in the comedy division so we didn’t end up competing against 12 Years A Slave or Gravity – two exceptional films. So, at the beginning of the evening, she and I were big cheerleaders, and we were so excited to be there, and obviously it was our first time. Suckle globesEvery time American Hustle won anything we cheered “Wowwwwww!!!” And I was sitting right behind Bono, and everyone just kept looking at, like, ‘who are those chicks up there?’ And we were right at the bannister, so by the time they won best picture, and we were coming down, they knew who we were. This is the picture of us from the TV while he was up on the stage, they actually caught us on camera, and one of my friends sent it to me because we were texting, and she was like, “You’re on TV!” and it was both of us and everybody saw it. Someone else put it on Facebook and then everyone saw, so we got our moment because we were so vocal. We were so noticeably excited!

It seems like everyone eats and drinks lavishly at their table during the entire Golden Globes?
Oh, you don’t eat. Everybody gets a box of Godiva Chocolates so all we had was champagne and chocolate, it was fun!

How nervous and/or excited were you for Richard when you were at the award shows?
Oh it was completely nerve wracking – every single one of them. In the beginning they were on a roll and getting a lot of awards, and that was really getting exciting at that point. Then at a certain point I think the climate changed, and it became more serious and it became more stressful. It became a three-way race between 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle. So as the awards shows were heading towards the Oscars, it became more stressful.

Did your children watch at home?
Yes. Every single time one was televised, and they were very excited.

Who were some of the most exciting people you met?
I met everyone, it was really amazing. It almost got to the point where it was just like talking to anyone. You know, the thing about the parties, like next time, you don’t really need to go to every party, because you see the same people and although it’s wonderful and fun, I was stressing out about going to every single one, you know I feel like I’ve done it. I don’t necessarily need to do that again. Robert DeNiro was amazing to me, because he was in the movie, some of the parties were at his restaurant in West Hollywood. It was very intimate and small so that was really cool. At the BAFTA’s I talked to Angelina Jolie. We actually talked about the BRCA [breast cancer gene], something I have been through personally. When I approached her, everyone was like, oh my God, they couldn’t believe it because they are like royalty, but I approached her because of what she’s doing for BRCA and that’s what I went through. I talked to her about that, and her experience, and that was amazing.

What is the red carpet really like with all of the screaming fans and photographers?
I’ve done red carpets for premieres, but this was absolutely surreal with people yelling and screaming. Richard doesn’t like a lot of attention so he wanted to rush through, and I was trying to hold him back, to savor the moment, but he wanted to rush through. It was ridiculous. It’s all – “Richard! Richard! look this way! Richard look that way!” And for a moment, he was celebrating. It was fun. For the Oscars, I actually was interviewed on the red carpet because I found this designer on Melrose, Oliver Tolentino. He’s Filipino, and he has beautiful stuff, and I got some of his dresses for the parties. He was amazing and impeccable, and he wanted me to be on the red carpet for the Filipino press. They coordinated it with Richard’s publicist and it ended up being on World Television and in all the newspapers around the world.

Which show were you most excited to attend?
The BAFTA’s, Because going to London is a whole different experience. I also loved the Oscar nominee luncheon, it was amazing. It was almost like a college graduation, only for the nominees. No agents or any other people, just nominees. They take a portrait of that year’s nominees and its like a graduation portrait. That luncheon was really wonderful.

Would you do anything differently next time if one of Richard’s movies is nominated?
Would I do anything differently? Not stress about what’s next, what’s next, also not stress so much about what to wear so much. I was so stressed about that and it was obviously not about me, but I just had never done it before so I was so excited.

BAFTA giftbagDid you save any mementos from any of the events?
When we got to the BAFTA’s, the goody bag, and we don’t get that many goody bags, the actors do, but it was waiting for us in our hotel room. The thing that I loved the most was the actual BAFTA tote bag. They gave a lot of stuff like candles and all this stuff, chocolates, which I love, but the actual bag was my favorite thing. Then, when you go to Gala after the BAFTA’s, all the tables are dressed of the five nominated films for best picture. BAFTA placematI was told I have to take these amazing placemats home, and we have a table for six in our kitchen, and when I saw them I just had to have them. I started collecting them, and David O. Russell came up to me, and some agents…everyone was coming up to me, ‘what are you doing?’ And I said, I was told to take them and they are great souvenirs, and they are! Then everyone followed suit and went around the room grabbing them. Oh my God, I love them, they’re awesome, they’re like the best thing ever.

You say this entire experience has been surreal. Did you ever dream this would happen for Richard?
Yes, I did think this would happen to Richard because he’s that guy. He is so driven and he is a very serious guy, and I always knew something was going to happen for him. I’m really happy it happened at his young age. I mean, I think he’s pretty young to go through this as a producer. Do I think it’s going to happen again? Yes I do. I think he learned a lot from this experience. He learned about what material to focus on, material that will maybe get awards. But that’s not his only goal, you know, he loves good material and he just wants to work. So, did I ever think so? Yes. Do I think he’ll do it again? Yes.

Richard Suckle and DevinI understand he brought his Golden Globe award to your 2nd grade son Devin’s class for show and tell. What was that like?
As soon as he brought it home, the next morning, Devin said, “Daddy, I want to take the Golden Globe in for show and tell.” And Daddy said, “You can’t take it without me.” And he said, “You can come too.” And it was amazing. The kids and staff were so excited and that was a proud moment for him.

What’s next for him?
Richard is going into the TV world and shot a pilot for the SyFy Channel based on 12 Monkeys, a film that Atlas did many years ago. The series just got picked up so they go into production this summer. And he’s got a lot of other feature things in the works, so he always keeps going.

What’s next for you?
Because he’s so busy, and because he’s so involved, I’m kind of going back to my roots, which is dancing. I’m doing competitive ballroom dancing, competitive Latin dancing. Also, I’m working on my own interior design business.

What is the one moment that really stands out for you from the past few months?
Richard getting his Golden Globe. Being up on stage, owning it. He was so natural on stage, and I just felt like he belonged. I’ve only seen that look on his face a couple of times. Really, he’s always very serious, so when he owned it – he’s only done that on our wedding day, at Cameron’s and Devin’s births, and then winning the Golden Globe. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen that certain look on his face. Because he never relaxes, and he is never truly happy, really thrilled and satisfied. And I felt for a moment, that he was really happy with himself and what was going on. And that was the best time.

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