Safdie Brothers Take Their Talents to Television with First-Look Deal at HBO

     May 26, 2020


Uncut Gems filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie have signed a two-year first-look deal with HBO that will see A24 executive produce all projects that fall under the deal, the network announced Tuesday.

While HBO didn’t announce any new projects from the Safdies’ Elara Pictures label, the mere fact that the siblings are taking their talents to television is cause for celebration ’round these parts. I fully acknowledge that movies like Uncut Gems and Good Time aren’t for everyone, but they both feature the same scuzzy aesthetic that may prove to be a great fit for HBO, which has never shied away from telling gritty stories.

The Safdie brothers formed Elara Pictures in 2014 with their longtime collaborators Sebastian Bear-McClard and Ronald Bronstein. Veteran industry executive Dani Bernfeld is joining the company as a partner and will produce film and TV projects for Elara.


Image via A24

The Safdies have never produced a television series before, though they did appear in the same episode of HBO’s Togetherness. I can’t wait to see the projects they develop for HBO, which could use their creative sensibilities after seeing more and more top Hollywood talent sign deals with deep-pocketed streamers such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple. For my money, I’d like to see the Safdies tackle an adaptation of Arthur Nersesian‘s New York novel The Fuck-Up.

A24’s involvement seems like a bonus here, as the company already produces one hit for HBO — Euphoria, which has been renewed for a second season. The company will also partner with Elara on select projects that fall outside the HBO deal. A24’s other TV credits include Ramy on Hulu and Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s upcoming Apple series Mr. Corman, as well as the Netflix comedy special John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch.

Uncut Gems is now available — and trending — on Netflix. The film stars Adam Sandler as a diamond dealer with a gambling addiction that puts his whole life in jeopardy. The film grossed more than $50 million at the domestic box office on a budget of just $19 million. The Safdies previously directed the 2009 indie Daddy Longlegs, and I still need to see their 2014 drug drama Heaven Knows What starring Caleb Landry Jones. The brothers may now have a first-look deal at HBO, but they’re simultaneously developing a pilot for Showtime called The Curse that will star Nathan Fielder. For more on that project, click here.