Benny and Josh Safdie are in Cannes Competition this year for the first time with Good Time, having previously featured in directors’ fortnight with The Pleasure Of Being Robbed and Daddy Longlegs.Their latest stars Robert Pattinson in what the actor called a “mentally damaged psychopath, bank robbery movie”.How did you react to being selected for Official Competition?Josh Safdie: In Robert Pattinson’s house in LA he has an incredible, expensive toilet. After sitting on it for 20 minutes I said to him ‘that’s the dream’. He says: ‘if we get into Cannes Competition, I will buy you that toilet’. Six hours before the [Cannes] announcement… Rob texts me a picture of the toilet. That’s how I found out!How did the film come together?JS: We were dead set on this other film which we’re now doing called Uncut Gems, and [our last film] Heaven Knows What was about to be released. Robert [Pattinson] saw a still for that and something spoke to him about that, the colours, the image itself, he became obsessed with getting in touch with us. Then he saw the trailer and said: ‘now I need to meet with you’. Then he saw the film and said explicitly ‘whatever you’re doing next, I want to be a part of it, even if it means doing the catering’.He didn’t sit in the diamond district world very well [for Uncut Gems], I was honest with him about that, and there was another world we were mulling, and we said maybe can write something for you in Good Time.What was it like to work with Robert Pattinson?Benny Safdie: I have so much respect for how deep he went, the places he went, the people he met, just his level of commitment, 16 hours a day, he was willing to do whatever. It was cold, I was playing the brother in a wheelchair, and we said to him ‘we don’t need you for this shot’, but he would stay and push me around in the cold. He said: “I need that, to take it that far”. He went above and beyond.JS: We bought Rob to a lot of active jails. He turned up in character in the hope that he inmates wouldn’t recognise him as a movie star. We pushed our start date on purpose in an effort to buy more prep time and I would say there was 3-4 months of character prep for him, which is a lot for a movie star in his career.How would you describe his final performance?JS: I wouldn’t even call it a performance, if you were to show the film to someone who has no idea who Robert Pattinson is, they would just assume that we found this guy. The only performances that I could liken what he did would be to an Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon or Tommy Lee Jones in The Executioner’s Song or Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. I’m mentioning icons of my filmic mind. This is what people will liken this to, it’s a transformation.Personally for him he wanted to disappear. When he was fully in character, in costume, in make-up and when he knew his voice, he would just take a walk around the neighbourhood, simply because normally he can’t do that. He would walk into a pharmacy and buy a Coca Cola and no-one would say anything to him or look at him, or take a picture of him, and that’s how he knew he had the character down.
Read the full interview at the source