Hot Directors: Safdie Brothers
Josh and Benny Safdie had spent a decade making small-budget films with nonprofessional casts when they received an e-mail from Robert Pattinson in 2015. He had seen a still from Heaven Knows What, their low-fi drama about young junkies in New York, and wanted to work on whatever they did next. "We were weirded the fuck out," says Benny, 31. Why, they wondered, was the ex-Twilight star cold-calling them? But when they met with Pattinson in Los Angeles, they quickly hit it off. Benny recalls, "Rob's like, 'I want to disappear. I want to just put everything out there.'"
The result, Good Time, a crime thriller in
which Pattinson plays a bank robber who has to spring his brother (played by
Benny) from jail or die trying, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It's
a change for the brothers, whose previous efforts favored shambling stories of
people stuck in ruts over forward momentum and gunfights. "I wanted to do
a genre movie," says Josh, 33, "but one that still felt like the
off-the-cuff things we do." The Safdies, who grew up in New York before
attending Boston University, have set their next film in their hometown's
Diamond District. Jonah Hill will star, with Martin Scorsese
executive-producing. "We got financing before we got the star this time,"
Josh says. "We finally got to the point where someone is willing to
believe in our vision." D.F.