Uncut Gems directors Josh and Benny Safdie might not have a credit on Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, but they do have a surprising connection to the Netflix documentary. The two worked with co-director Eric Goode at his Turtle Conservancy and traveled with Goode when he began working on the series. The brothers shared a couple photos from behind the scenes on Twitter last week.
Back on Thursday, filmmaker Jack Coyne tweeted that the Safdie brothers "lowkey worked on this show." The filmmaking duo confirmed that, sharing photos from the early days of Goode's work on Tiger King. "We worked for Eric and his turtle conservancy for a few years, then went down to Florida to start what became Tiger King. Only Eric Goode could have made this show," the brothers revealed. "Love him and love the show."
In a later tweet, the brothers said they only worked on it "very briefly" as Goode started making Tiger King when they were finishing up their third film, 2014's Heaven Knows What.
Back in 2013, the Safdies were hired to create a public service announcement for the Turtle Conservancy and Traffic.org to show the horrors of the illegal wildlife trade. One of the films was called The Trophy Hunter, and showed a animal smuggler in a Hong Kong hotel penthouse, notes The New Yorker. Although it was fictional, the four-minute film was so realistic looking the conservancy had to issue a statement noting it was not based on a true story.
"This year we are sending out a video whose content may be difficult for some viewers," the conservancy said in a statement at the time. "However, the video highlights an important issue: the illegal wildlife trade and its role in the global extinction crisis."
Worked on it very briefly. It was right around the time we were finishing Heaven Knows What.— SAFDIE (@JOSH_BENNY) March 27, 2020
"This holiday we are supporting TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade-monitoring network (traffic.org)," the statement continued. "The illegal wildlife trade is the third-largest illicit trade after drugs and arms and is responsible for the extinction of many animal and plant species. TRAFFIC is a joint program of the WWF and IUCN and works around the world to ensure that the trade in wildlife is not a threat to the conservation of nature."
The Safdie brothers' work typically focuses on the seedier side of New York City. They earned a breakthrough with their fourth fiction film, Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson. Last year, they directed the acclaimed Uncut Gems, which starred Adam Sandler.
As for Goode, Tiger King is the first documentary from his Goode Film Productions. The seven-episode series focuses on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic," and the illegal trade of big cats. His feud with Big Bat Rescue owner Carole Baskin is at the show's center. Maldonado-Passage is now in prison after being convicted of hiring someone to kill Baskin.
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