The 2019 film Uncut Gems became a phenomenon due to Adam Sandler’s star turn as protagonist Howard Ratner, a New York jeweller who gambles not just with money, but with everything he has. The film is a nerve-shredding drama with excellent direction from Josh and Benny Safdie, and a career-defining performance from Sandler, who had previously been known almost solely for his comedic roles. Uncut Gems revealed to the public a depth and craft to Sandler’s acting skills that we had only previously had a taste of in visionary director Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 dramatic comedy Punch Drunk Love.
While Uncut Gems received huge attention and praise for Sandler’s performance, the Safdie Brothers’ direction, and Daniel Lopatin’s (known more commonly as musician Oneohtrix Point Never) electronic soundtrack, there were a few surprises up the film’s sleeve, in the form of some unexpected cameos from celebrities playing fictionalized versions of themselves!
As well as giving an insight into the thrill of beating the odds (which you can experience with sites such as Odds Shark Online Sports Betting), Uncut Gems brings a cast of famous faces together. However, you may not have recognized them all on first viewing. Here is a list of the four celebrities who appeared as themselves in the movie.
Kevin Garnett, Basketball Player
The first, and most difficult to miss, celebrity cameo in the movie is that of NBA star Kevin Garnett. Although the Safdies’ first choice of basketball player to appear in the film was actually Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, Embiid had to drop out due to conflicting schedules, and was replaced by Garnett.
Garnett must be a good sport (no pun intended!), because he agreed to portray a fictionalized version of himself as vain, greedy, and sly. While this doesn’t reflect on his real-life personality, it fits in perfectly with the film’s world of lowlifes and swindlers.
Trinidad James, Rapper
Rapper Trinidad James is most well known for his sole hit “All Gold Everything.” He hasn’t been in the public eye much lately, but he appears as himself in a brief cameo when Adam Sandler’s character is introduced to him in a nightclub. The film is set in 2012, when the rapper’s career was on the rise. Unfortunately, in real life, James failed to follow up his hit with another, and he was dropped from Def Jam Records in 2014 without a debut album being released. Perhaps his appearance in Uncut Gems will spark a career comeback?
The Weekend, RnB Singer-Songwriter
Like Kevin Garnett’s cameo, this one is hard to miss, as The Weeknd’s presence is an important plot point! Nowadays, The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) is a household name, with tracks such as “Blinding Lights,” “Starboy,” and “Can’t Feel My Face” all having big chart success. However, back in 2012, when the film is set, he was pretty new on the scene. When Sandler’s character visits a nightclub where the singer is performing, a dalliance between him and the protagonist’s girlfriend leads to an all-out brawl between the two men!
Another very brief cameo is that of actor John Amos, star of Good Times and Coming to America, who just happens to be the protagonist’s neighbour. None of the other celebrities’ fictional personas come off too well in this film, and Amos is no exception. While he doesn’t hit on Ratner’s girlfriend, punch anyone, or steal priceless jewellery, he does refuse to let Ratner’s son use his bathroom—an unforgivable crime!