A watchful “Uncut Gems” stunt coordinator saved Adam Sandler from serious injury in a violent choking scene that got too lifelike, the star and co-directors recalled.
In a newly released interview with Sandler and the directing duo The Safdie Brothers, the actor reveals that he often went home with bruises from his role as manic jeweler Howard Ratner in the crime thriller. Granted, the film was shot in just under 31 days, that was more than enough time for Sandler to get banged up during takes, and in one particular scene, almost literally get the life choked out of him if an extremely observant stunt coordinator hadn’t been paying attention.
According to Josh Safdie, this was the first movie for the three actors roughing up Sandler, and while he says they were very professional, it was, again, their first time doing an on-camera fight, and things got a little hairy. Via Entertainment Weekly:
JOSH: The stunt driver was actually also the stunt coordinator, so he had eyes on him the whole time, and kudos to him that he was really hawk-eyed about it — because there was one take when Sandler was getting choked and he was trying to tap out, but the actor thought that he was just being Howard so he choked harder, and Adam couldn’t breathe.
You didn’t have a safe word?
JOSH: A safe word? He couldn’t speak! [Laughs] But he never said anything till after we cut and then he was like, “Thank you.”
Thankfully, everyone survived the ordeal, and Uncut Gems went on to be such a breakout hit that The Safdie Brothers and their production company Elara Pictures just signed a two-year first-look television deal with HBO, according to Deadline. Turns out the secret to success is almost killing Adam Sandler. Who knew?
Uncut Gems is currently streaming on Netflix.