Benny and Josh Safdie clawed their way to the top of the independent film world by invoking the DIY realism of indie legends like John Cassavetes. And now that they’re working on projects with some of the biggest actors and filmmakers in Hollywood, they still believe in going the extra mile to get the details right.
In a new interview with GQ, Benny Safdie opened up about his passion for eating on camera. The filmmaker explained that it infuriates him when characters don’t eat during meal scenes because performers didn’t want to consume food multiple times. It’s a mistake that he tries to avoid making when he acts.
“I hate it when people don’t eat. It destroys me,” Safdie said, recalling the great lengths he went to make sure his “Licorice Pizza” dinner scene looked realistic. “I don’t know how many tiramisus I ate, but it must have been 30.”
Safdie’s creative collaborators can vouch for his dedication to eating onscreen. Nathan Fielder, who is working with Safdie on the upcoming Showtime comedy series “The Curse,” recalled Safdie’s impressive commitment to eating excessive amounts of food for the sake of the bit.
“Any scene that involved food, everyone would pace themselves on the first take,” Fielder said. “But Benny for some reason would keep shoving food in his mouth the entire scene because he thought it would be funnier. And he was right. There was one scene where he ate an entire Chinese buffet plate every single take for 15 takes and he would always match the exact same volume of food. You’d think any sane person would eat a couple less popcorn shrimp each time as the takes went on. But he wouldn’t.”
“The Curse” is co-created by Fielder and Benny Safdie. Fielder and Emma Stone star as a married couple who host a fictional HGTV show that becomes derailed by a supernatural hex. The A24-produced series was announced in 2020.
“The fierce intelligence and wit of the incomparable Emma Stone make her the perfect partner with the ingenious minds of the Safdie brothers and the subversive comedy of Nathan Fielder,” said Amy Israel, EVP of scripted programming at Showtime in a statement announcing Stone’s casting. “Together, they promise to deliver a groundbreaking satire that is both unexpected and deeply human. Showtime continues to shine as a beacon for visionary filmmakers who are looking to create their ambitious, singular shows.”