This is how HBO wins: The network has signed a two-year first look deal with “Uncut Gems” writer-directors Josh and Benny Safdie.
Variety reported that duo and Elara Pictures, which the brothers co-founded with Sebastian Bear-McClard and Ronald Bronstein in 2014, will produce film and television projects for the platform. A24, which produced the Safdie brothers’ “Uncut Gems” and “Good Time,” as well as acclaimed films such as “Midsommar,” will executive produce all projects under the deal and will partner with Elara on certain projects outside the deal.
Terms of the Safdie brothers’ HBO deal were not disclosed and an HBO representative did not return a request for comment.
The deal could result in the Safdie brothers’ first television project. The duo’s filmography has been widely praised and last year’s Adam Sandler-led “Uncut Gems” received particularly widespread praise from critics. The film, where Sandler plays a gambling-addicted jeweler, was a major hit and grossed over $50 million.
There’s no word on specific projects the Safdie brothers may be working on at HBO, but their deal signals a major win for the network. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn lauded the duo’s directorial work in his grade A review of “Uncut Gems” last year.
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“Ever since 2008’s ‘The Pleasure of Being Robbed,’ these sibling filmmakers have excelled at burrowing inside the mindset of combustible characters driven to destructive tendencies just to survive another day,” Kohn said in his review. “The dysfunctional father of ‘Daddy Longlegs’ may as well exist in the same restless universe as the furious junkies in ‘Heaven Knows What’ and Robert Pattinson’s hapless criminal and loving brother in ‘Good Time.’ With ‘Uncut Gems,’ the Safdies add one more impetuous creation to their jittery New York City milieu, and it’s a hypnotic blast to watch him come to life.”
The WarnerMedia-owned HBO, like most entertainment industry competitors, has been aggressively courting high-profile talents to create content for its platforms over the last few years. HBO recently inked deals with A-listers such as Steven Soderbergh, JJ Abrams, Caley Cuoco, and Melissa Rosenberg, most of whom will produce projects for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service, which launches Wednesday.
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