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Trivia / Uncut Gems

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  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • Julia Fox's character was originally named Sadie, but Adam Sandler asked for that to be changed, as his daughter is named Sadie.
    • It was Julia Fox's idea for Julie to have Howard's name tattooed on her ass.
  • Amateur Cast: Though the film features big names, including Adam Sandler, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, and Eric Bogosian, the rest of the supporting cast is played by non-actors.
  • Cast the Expert: Yussi is played by a real-life jeweler, Maksud Agadjani, who'd famously had some firsthand experience with clients ripping him off.
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  • The Danza: Julia Fox plays Julia, Howard's assistant and mistress. The name was a last-minute change to prevent the character from sharing a name with Sandler's daughter.
  • Defictionalization: The memetic gold Furby chain was released as limited-edition (only 100 pieces) merch.
  • Deleted Role: Pom Klementieff had a supporting part that was all but cut from the final film. Her role in the film is little more than a very, very brief cameo, despite still being listed in the credits.
  • Doing It for the Art: The Safdie Brothers turned down an offer from Marvel Studios to make this film, despite liking the film they were offered. Nobody knows yet what film it was.
  • DVD Commentary: The Blu-Ray of the film has one with the Safdies, the editor and co-writer Ronald Borenstein, and one of the film's producers.
  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: According to the The Safdie Brothers, between the film's conception in 2009 and its release a whole decade later, 160 drafts were made. Adam Sandler declined their initial offer of the starring role, and the brothers cycled through a number of basketball players to include in the film (including Kobe Bryant and Amar'e Stoudemire) before settling on Garnett, which led to thorough rewrites as the plot had to revolve around the outcomes of real-life games and by proxy different sets of themes. Due to the lack of financial backing and an attached star, the film languished in Development Hell long enough for the brothers to instead make several other films based on elements of their research — Lenny Cooke was a documentary about the titular basketball player, and Heaven Knows What revolved around the life and memoir of an actual heroin-addicted woman the brothers found while doing research in the Diamond District. Robert Pattinson, fascinated upon seeing an ad for the latter, asked to work with the brothers on their next project, one thing led to another, and the brothers accrued enough success to give Uncut Gems the momentum it needed.
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  • Fatal Method Acting: Narrowly averted. There's a scene in which Arno's goons rough Howard up while Arno demands his money back. While filming this scene, one of the actors was actually choking Adam Sandler, and Sandler, unable to breathe, tried to tap out, but the other actor thought it was All Part of the Show. Fortunately, the stunt coordinator realized that Sandler was in genuine distress and stopped the take.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The house used for the exterior of Howard Ratner's home is the same house used as Freddie Mercury's home in Bohemian Rhapsody.
  • The Merch: Two weeks after the film's release, A24 released Howard's now-legendary gold Furby chain, a basketball with Howard's exact winning Game 7 bet emblazoned on it, KMH's diamond grading chart, and a zine made by the Safdie Brothers as official merchandise.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Even in his well-regarded dramatic roles, Adam Sandler tends to play more decent guys. Howard has a few redeeming traits, but is overall quite a scumbag between his mafia ties, shady business practices, gambling habits and having a long-time mistress.
    • Idina Menzel (Elsa from Frozen) in a role that not only requires no singing, but is also a bitter, shrill, estranged wife that drops a few F-bombs in between.
  • Production Posse: Like Good Time, this film was directed by the Safdie Brothers, with a script co-written by Ronald Bronstein and a soundtrack provided by Oneohtrix Point Never.
  • Voice-Only Cameo:
    • Natasha Lyonne is the Celtics agent who Howard talks to over the phone.
    • Tilda Swinton is the auctioneer who defends devaluing Howard's gem over the phone.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Jonah Hill was initially attached to the lead role, but was ultimately turned down for being too young. Sacha Baron Cohen was also considered before Adam Sandler was cast, but the brothers didn’t even meet him. Harvey Keitel was also considered.
    • Kobe Bryant or Amar'e Stoudemire were the first choices for the NBA player.
      • Bryant was considered mainly for his outspoken interest in acting circa 2015; however, after the brothers had extensively rewritten the film to suit him, they learned that he was actually interested in directing more than acting, rendering all their work moot.
      • As a former player for the New York Knicks, Stoudemire was a natural fit but refused to cut his hair for the role. The opal being mined by Ethiopian Jews was intended in the original script to appeal specifically to Stoudemire, who believed he had Hebrew ancestry, and would later convert to Judaism.
    • Initial drafts of the script included a version of the character of Nick Nikas. This character would go on to be portrayed by Benny Safdie in Good Time.
    • In addition to composing the film's score, Oneohtrix Point Never reportedly made several songs with The Weeknd (who cameos) that were going to be used but ended up getting cut.
  • Write What You Know: The film was inspired by the Safdie Brothers' father's time working for a man also named Howard in the Manhattan Diamond District. The Safdie Brothers and their father are also Jewish and avid basketball fans.
  • This movie is notable for being A24's first entry into The Criterion Collection.


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