Benny Safdie is making the (temporary) jump from directing to acting. The man who co-directed excellent films such as Uncut Gems and Good Time alongside his brother Josh, will reportedly play a gay politician in the upcoming movie of a filmmaker the brothers idolise – Paul Thomas Anderson.
Anderson’s film has been in the works for a while and widely reported on, although details have only trickled out drop by drop. We do know that it’s set in the San Fernando Valley of the 1970s where Anderson grew up. The story follows a high school student who is also a successful child actor, and while it’s unclear who’s playing the lead, Bradley Cooper is on board in a key role.
So who is Safdie playing? Reportedly, it’s a politician named Wachs, and the character is reportedly inspired by L.A. City Council member Joel Wachs, who was, according to the New York Times, a “closeted gay man until he was preparing to run for mayor in 1999 at the age of sixty”.
Anderson is reportedly “casting the film with fresh faces rather than recognisable movie stars, and many up-and-comers have been vying for roles, particularly those with comedy backgrounds”, per Collider. Whether that says anything about the tone of the movie itself, no one knows.
This is no doubt a dream for Safdie, who once interviewed Anderson alongside his brother for the A24 podcast and professed his love for Punch-Drunk Love. The brothers’ films may be a lot more hectic and anxiety-inducing than Anderson’s, but you can still clearly see the influence there. We will continue to wait for more trickles of information regarding the film.
Naturally, this isn’t the only project either of the Safdies are involved in, having become immensely popular in the previous decade. The duo are working with Nathan Fielder on on a Showtime series called The Curse, they’re developing a 48 Hours remake, and are “considering” making a dark Pee-Wee Herman project with Paul Reubens.