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Adam Sandler Thinks the Weeknd Might’ve Pulled Punches in Their Uncut Gems Fight Scene

Photo: Roy Rochlin/WireImage

About halfway through Uncut Gems, the seedy, splendid crime-thriller from Benny and Josh Safdie, Adam Sandler finds himself at a Weeknd show. The year is 2012, and Sandler’s character, a Diamond District jeweler, comes to blows with the singer. At Monday night’s IFP Gotham Awards, Sandler told Vulture about shooting their fight scene. “First of all, I love that kid. He’s such a nice guy. He’s so deep. He’s so into the Safdies’ other work. He was excited about doing a movie with them,” he said. “We got to know each other and got closer. He was a gentleman [on set]. I’m older than him. I don’t think he really wanted to fight as hard as he could! But then when we got cooking, he was a strong guy, a tough guy. He did a great job. He was really bold to play that part, to play himself, and not be such a lovable guy in the movie. That new album, my God! Did you hear that yet? It’s good.”

The Safdies only had Sandler in mind for the part of Howard, a gambler and bullshitter with a warped sense of romance. After the actor saw Good Time, he said, he and the directors started talking about the character seriously. “We just had a bunch of talks, sat down with each other, went over the script over and over, and we just got really close. A lived-with-each other kind of feeling: we were on the phone, or with each other, or thinking together at all times.”

In a separate interview with Vulture, the Safdies describe Howard as, unsurprisingly, “an uncut gem.” What does Sandler himself make of that read on the character? “When they talk about him like that, it feels right. I know what they’re saying. When I first read the script, they said Howard was their hero,” he said. “I wasn’t clicking with that. I was nervous. He does so many things that hurt other people, I wasn’t able to identify with him being as much of a hero. But then, more and more, I understood what they were trying to say. He’s a dreamer, he’s just looking for his moment, a desperate guy, a ballsy guy. He keeps pushing it. I don’t think he’s 100 percent aware of how much damage he’s causing, but it was great to be their guy.”

Adam Sandler Had to Fight the Weeknd for Uncut Gems