'Uncut Gems' Producer Scoured the Earth to Create a Rare Opal

Uncut Gems Still 2 - Publicity - H 2020
Wally McGrady/A24

Sebastian Bear-McClard reveals how he designed the prop, which is central to the plot of the Safdie brothers' frenetic, frantic thriller.

The Safdie brothers' frenetic, frantic thriller Uncut Gems revolves around a rare opal that sends Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) on a dangerous journey through New York City's diamond district. Finding just the right prop sent the film's producer on a similar wild hunt.

"We had trouble sourcing a real one and trouble figuring out how to get the art department to build what was in our heads," says producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, a longtime collaborator of the Safdies. "So, I ended up taking over the design and execution."

With principal photography already underway, Bear-McClard spent his time away from set researching iconic opals and working with the production's art department to fabricate the ideal look for the film's leading gem. He also turned to industry experts for favors, recalling, "In the middle of the night after a shoot, I had to wine and dine some opal traders who were visiting from Australia to convince them to lend us their very special opals that ended up being little pigments in our larger rock opal." 

This story first appeared in a January stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.