For those who have already caught the critically acclaimed Uncut Gems, you’re well aware that The Weeknd (playing himself) is plays a role in the film. Today, NME sat down with the directors behind the A24 flick, Josh and Benny Safdie, who revealed that Abel wasn’t always part of the plans. In fact, there were a few other contenders in the mix, namely A$AP Ferg, who would have played a character named Privilege in Weeknd’s stead.
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“Before we became friends with Weeknd, he saw a movie we made called Heaven Knows What,” explains Josh Safdie. “Then we became friends after he saw Good Time. He really liked that film a lot, and we became friends — which was awesome. Before we met him, we did a table read with A$AP Ferg. It was a character named Privilege. Before it was Ferg it was going to be an unknown, a local aspiring rapper. Actually, we talked about Troy Ave for a little bit. When we ended up landing on the proper time period with Kevin Garnett, it was with The Weeknd, right when he was breaking through with the Trilogy.”
He also reveals that some of Weeknd’s upcoming music feels like a “cousin” to the film, though he stops short of saying it’s directly inspired. For more about the Safide’s creative process, be sure to check out the full interview NME. For those who have seen the film, could you imagine A$AP Ferg or Troy Ave fitting into the world?