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.
Sandler told Entertainment Weekly in an interview posted Monday that he took home several bruises from being worked over on the set. But it could have been worse.
In the movie, Sandler’s gambling addict jeweler Howard was being choked by goons after being kidnapped by his loan shark brother-in-law. But the actors playing the thugs were novices and got too rough, said Josh Safdie, who directed the film with his brother Benny.
“All three of those guys who are manhandling Sandler, it was the first movie they’ve done,” Safdie explained. “So they were very professional, but when it’s your first time — Sandler’s so in it, he’s so into the character that it started to actually get a little scary one or two times, because he’s getting choked at one point in the scene and there were all these cues.”
Safdie praised the “hawk-eyed” stunt coordinator for noticing something amiss.
“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,” Safdie said.
Asked if Sandler had a safe word, the co-director responded with a laugh: “A safe word? He couldn’t speak! But he never said anything till after we cut and then he was like, ‘Thank you.’”
Sander previously told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” that the stunt coordinator instructed the inexperienced actors “you really don’t have to choke Adam,” but they “literally didn’t hear anything the guy was saying.”
In one take, Sander recalled on the talk show, not only was he tapping out but he was also punching the roof of the car.
No permanent harm done, apparently.
The movie, which hit Netflix on Monday, boosted Sandler’s acting cred and earned him an Independent Spirit for Best Male Lead.
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