Josh and Benny Safdie, the award-winning sibling filmmakers behind Uncut Gems and Good Time, are splitting up temporarily ahead of what had been expected to be their next project together, Above the Line has exclusively learned.
The Safdies had been busy prepping a new Netflix movie starring Adam Sandler, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Megan Thee Stallion, with Ben Affleck in negotiations to co-star. The plot is said to involve sports memorabilia, with Affleck eyed to play a former athlete.
While the Safdie brothers co-wrote the script and will both be credited as producers, sources say that Josh Safdie will be directing the film on his own. I’m told this decision had nothing to do with the recently reported controversy surrounding the Safdies’ former producing partner, Sebastian Bear-McClard.
The Safdie brothers didn’t always direct together, as Josh made his feature debut with the 2008 indie drama The Pleasure of Being Robbed. The following year, they co-directed Daddy Longlegs, which they followed with the 2013 sports documentary Lenny Cooke, about a high school basketball phenom.
In 2014, the Safdies co-directed the addiction drama Heaven Knows What starring Caleb Landry Jones, which led to their 2017 breakout with Good Time starring Robert Pattinson. Benny Safdie co-starred as Pattinson’s mentally impaired brother in that film, and he earned strong notices for his supporting performance (more on that later).
In 2019, the Safdies’ careers really began to take off with A24’s Uncut Gems, for which they shared the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director. The crackling gambling thriller starred Sandler, Julia Fox, LaKeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Kevin Garnett, and Eric Bogosian. A box office success that took in $50 million domestic, the gritty film effectively made them the toast of the town.
Most recently, the Safdies produced Owen Kline‘s indie comedy Funny Pages, and they’re also executive producers alongside Nathan Fielder on the upcoming Showtime series The Curse, which finds Benny starring alongside Emma Stone. Benny co-created the show with Fielder, and the two of them also serve as co-showrunners.
Indeed, Benny’s acting career is worth noting, as he has worked with acclaimed directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Christopher Nolan (the upcoming Oppenheimer), Claire Denis (Stars at Noon), Kornél Mundruczó (Pieces of a Woman), and Kelly Fremon Craig, as he can currently be seen as Rachel McAdams‘ husband in Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.
Josh has been supportive of his brother’s acting career but with Benny involved with other projects, they made the decision that Josh would direct this next Sandler film on his own. Of course, it’s unclear when the film will go before cameras given the current Writers Strike, with more labor unrest on Hollywood’s horizon, but it is going to happen eventually, just like the Safdies will team back up and co-direct again one day.
The Safdie brothers are represented by WME, while Benny is also repped by Untitled Entertainment. A representative for the Safdies told Above the Line that they “don’t comment on rumors,” while a representative for Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.