Lakeith Stanfield Interview

In the roughly six or seven years since he made his remarkable feature film debut in Short Term 12 as the troubled teen Marcus, Lakeith Stanfield has been one of the hardest-working actors in show business, collaborating with a remarkable string of both well-known filmmakers and relative newcomers in both high-profile films and smaller, indie gems. Often he pops in for a choice supporting part and takes the movie away from the leads just enough to become unforgettable (just watch him in Jordan Peele’s Get Out as an example).

Since Short Term 12, Stanfield has shown up in The Purge: Anarchy, Selma, Dope, Straight Outta Compton, Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead, Oliver Stone’s Snowden, and one of the finest films of 2018, Sorry to Bother You, as well as one finest in 2019, writer/director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.  But many know Stanfield best from his role as the hilarious stoner-savant Darius in creator Donald Glover’s FX series Atlanta, which will begin shooting its third and fourth seasons back to back in the spring of 2020. He also has a new film coming out on Valentine’s Day 2020, the romantic-drama The Photograph, co-starring Issa Rae and Kelvin Harrison Jr. 

/Film spoke with Stanfield recently to discuss his other entry in the Best Films of 2019 category, Uncut Gems, from directors Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, in which Stanfield plays a jewelry hustler named Demany, who works closely with jeweler Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) by bringing in cash-flush celebrities (like Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett) into Ratner’s store to spend spend spend. As the film moves forward on its relentless course to self-destruction, Demany reveals layers to his personality and abilities that few actors beside Stanfield could handle as honestly and believably. Stanfield is a master of finding the right tone for his characters (which we talk about in our interview0, as can be witnessed by comparing the role he plays in Uncut Gems with the wildly different, more laid-back Lieutenant Elliott in Knives Out. Uncut Gems is currently in theaters nationwide.

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2020 THR Directors Roundtable

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, watch The Hollywood Reporter’s 2020 directors roundtable with Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, Greta Gerwig, and more. Plus, listen as the writers and directors of Uncut Gems deliver a script breakdown of one of the movie’s most tense scenes, and hear Ed Helms answer questions from Reddit’s “Too Afraid to Ask” community. Read More »

uncut gems trailer final

Uncut Gems is already playing everywhere, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be blessed with one more trailer. This final Uncut Gems trailer features a killer needle-drop in the form of Billy Joel’s “The Stranger.” It also features Adam Sandler running around, shouting, and making everyone around him extra anxious. This is how he wins. Watch the final Uncut Gems trailer below.

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Green Band Trailer

Movie trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week, let’s rank The Best Movie Trailers of 2019.

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Uncut Gems F-word

Uncut Gems, the movie that opens by zooming out of Adam Sandler’s butthole, is a big hit. Not only is it a critical darling, but it’s also one of the biggest successes in the history of A24 films. And here’s another achievement to boast about: it ranks in seventh place on a list of films with the most F-words. It joins the company of not one but two Martin Scorsese movies, Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam, two different documentaries about cursing, and more.

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Uncut Gems interview Julia Fox

The path to Julia Fox‘s on-screen acting debut in Uncut Gems took her through a myriad of other successful creative endeavors, including art, photography, fashion design, writing, and even recently directing her first short film, Fantasy Girls. Fox first became well known in her native New York City for being something of an “It girl” on the club/party scene, and it was during that time in her life, nearly 10 years ago, that she became friendly with brothers and struggling filmmakers Josh and Bennie Safdie, who were developing a script set in the city’s diamond district which focused on a fast-talking jeweler named Howard Ratner, a degenerate gambler and a man who enjoys the thrill of risk more than the actual rewards it may bring.

The Safdies wrote the character of Julia for Fox, and through the many iterations of both the screenplay and the cast, Fox has remained the one constant in the production – but she still had to fight for the role and prove she could play the part of Howard’s mistress. Uncut Gems took many years to get off the ground (the brothers made their breakthrough movies Heaven Knows What and Good Time in the meantime), and when the Safdies’ first choice to play Howard, Adam Sandler, finally agreed to make the film, things fell into place fairly quickly. Fox was ready, and she’s absolutely electric as the charming, manipulative, and irresistible Julia, in a movie that feels like the cinematic equivalent of a panic attack and also happens to be one of the best of the year.

/Film spoke with with Fox recently about her long road to overnight success, how much of herself (past and present versions) she put into the Julia character, what she learned about acting from working so closely with Sandler, and the free-floating directing style that the Safdie brothers adopted to make the film both tense and funny. Read More »

Pixar By the Numbers

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, get some details on the Emeryville, California campus headquarters for Pixar Animation studios. Plus, listen to Kevin Smith‘s hour-long, deep dive review of the hotly debated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and learn some New York slang from Uncut Gems co-stars Adam Sandler and Idina Menzel. Read More »

Uncut Gems

Adam Sandler is getting a lot of awards buzz right now for his role in the new thriller Uncut Gems from A24. He’s been making the publicity rounds talking about what many are calling the best performance of his career, and it seems like he’s really leaning into the promotional side of awards season with some publicity stunts. Today, Sandler answered phone calls as his Uncut Gems character Howard Ratner, a New York City jeweler with his own shop called KMH Gems & Jewelry, and we were lucky enough to get through to the man himself to place an order for a very special piece of jewelry. Find out more below. Read More »

/Filmcast Ep. 547 – Marriage Story + Uncut Gems

marriage story review

This holiday season, David, Devindra, Jeff give the gift of a double-feature. The cast reviews Marriage Story, the latest Netflix film by Noah Baumbach, and Uncut Gems, a crime drama featuring a rough looking Adam Sandler.
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Listen and subscribe to David’s newest podcast Culturally Relevant. Check out Jeff Cannata’s D&D show Dungeon Run. Listen to David’s other podcasts The Sweet Smell of Succession with Tara Ariano and Write Along with writer C. Robert Cargill. Listen to Devindra’s podcast with Engadget on all things tech.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

uncut gems review

On the early afternoon of November 28, 2019, Josh and Benny Safdie celebrated Thanksgiving by sharing scenes of intense family dysfunction. Over the course of the afternoon, the Safdies’ official Twitter account posted a handful of .gifs from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love. The first is a scene where Adam Sandler’s Barry Egan – having just punched out his sister’s sliding glass door in a rare fit of unrepressed anger – admits to his clueless brother-in-law that there are moments when he does not like himself. The thread ends with the iconic dream-like sequences from the film, built around the abstract colors of the late digital artist Jeremy Blake.

With Uncut Gems now in theaters, the Safdie’s appreciation of Punch-Drunk Love is bound to become a frequent talking point. Sandler’s performance as jeweler Harry Ratner is already garnering Academy Award buzz – or, at the bare minimum, outrage about its Golden Globe snub – and the Safdie brothers seem poised to cross over to mainstream audiences in a way that not even the Robert Pattinson-starring Good Time could make happen. And yet, despite a well-documented love for Anderson’s film, both Josh and Benny Safdie are quick to point out that any parallels between the two features are less overt than they may seem.

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