It will be a tough road to get there, but despite some snubs, the National Board of Review named Sandler the year’s best actor and he’s also up for an Independent Spirit Award.
I sat down with Sandler and “Uncut Gems” co-directors and writers Benny and Josh Safdie for “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, shortly after the movie began picking up buzz at Telluride and the Toronto Film Festival.
Here are some of the highlights:
Sandler says he knows “a lot of men” like Howard, his character in “Uncut Gems.” He also drew inspiration from his childhood. “My uncle also worked in the Garment District, so when we were shooting around there, that area I was very familiar with and I grew up being in that neighborhood and being around a lot of guys like that,” Sandler said.
Sandler admits he was “scared of Howard” when he first read the script, but by “day three,” everyone on set loved the guy. “We prepared so much,” the actor said. “We got to know so much of who Howard should be and the way he reacts and thinks and just diving into the scenes day-to-day, and discussing stuff before and after. We were living that movie. We lived the movie day in and day out, before we shot, during the shoot, after the shoot. We never left each other.”
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Yes, the diamonds and gold Sandler wore in the movie were real. At one point, he was wearing about $400,000 worth of jewelry. His Cartier eyeglasses alone cost $7,000. His Star of David pinky ring was custom-made by one of the jewelers in the Diamond District. “We were like, ‘We got to get that Jewish star pinky ring,’” Sandler recalled. “And then one of the guys goes, ‘Let me get that done for you on the block.’”
As for the Oscar buzz, Sandler insists he can’t think about it, but then Benny piped in, “You should have won one for ‘Wedding Singer’ [and] ‘Big Daddy.'”
Sandler smiled: “The boys like my stuff.”
You can listen to the entire interview below. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.