Benny Safdie has confirmed he won’t be co-directing Safdies’ next film with Josh, who will be directing himself.
The star of “Oppenheimer”. shared the news with GQ, marking the first Safdie-directed feature not to be directed by both brothers. The as yet untitled film reunites the Safdies with Adam Sandler and is set to release on Netflix under Sandler’s production deal with the streamer. The film is set in the world of sports memorabilia collectors and also stars Megan Thee Stallion.
“Elara is still there. We work on a lot of documentaries and there’s just a constant flow of ideas,” said Benny Safdie. “It just felt like, OK, there are things I want to explore that don’t necessarily align right now with Josh. So it’s a divide and conquer mentality. He wants to tell this story, he can. I’m going to do a couple of other things. It seems like a natural progression as things have gone.
Jeff Schneider previously reported the creative split on the project in early spring. IndieWire has reached out to Netflix, who declined to comment on the earlier report.
After Benny Safdie went on to star in ‘Licorice Pizza’, ‘Oppenheimer’ and the upcoming satirical series ‘The Curse’ which he co-created with Nathan Fielder, Josh Safdie was already working on Sandler’s sports film with collaborator Ronald Bronstein.
“It was just a question of ‘This works for me right now and this is what I have to do,'” Safdie said.
Josh and Benny Safdie co-wrote the film’s script, which lead star Sandler teased was initially 340 pages.
During the GQ interview, Benny Safdie also opened up about the allegations against longtime collaborator Sebastian Bear-McClard.
The producer of ‘Uncut Gems’ and co-founder of Elara Pictures was charged with sexual misconduct and grooming of teenage girls in March 2023. Elara Pictures previously severed ties with Bear-McClard in July 2022 after learning of the his alleged behavior.
“It’s disgusting, and when you find out about someone you didn’t realize, you just have to be a lot more careful,” Safdie said. “It’s a lot, and it’s not something you want to happen to anyone. And when you find out, the only thing you can do is simply take control.
As of March 2023, Bear-McClard has been involved in private mediation with the Safdie Brothers. A spokeswoman for the Safdies said at the time: “The Elara team were made aware of Sebastian McClard’s behavior in July 2022. They took immediate action and sacked him.”
The Safdie Brothers’ Elara Pictures has entered a first-run deal with A24 in 2020; the allegations against Bear-McClard involved inappropriate behavior on the set for the Safdie Brothers’ “Good Time” and “Uncut Gems,” both A24 releases. A source told IndieWire that A24 was unaware of those allegations when it licensed “Good Time” for US distribution in 2016 and that the distributor never received a complaint during the making of “Uncut Gems.” of 2017.
Elara Pictures’ upcoming new project doesn’t involve Bear-McClard.