Aside from being one of the best films of 2019, the Safdie Brothers’ anxious, exquisite Uncut Gems featured one of the year’s most hilarious and unexpected cameos. Apropos of nothing, Good Times alum and veteran character actor John Amos popped up as himself for a hot second as a neighbor of Adam Sandler’s Howard Ratner, irritably refusing to let the jeweler’s son use his toilet.
In a new interview with Vulture, Josh Safdie revealed the cameo was originally written for The Cosby Show’s Phylicia Rashad, given that they were aiming to cast “the most wholesome person who was on television.” After she turned it down, though, they turned to another wholesome legend in Amos. What’s perhaps even more interesting, however, is the Safdies revealing that Amos nearly worked with Sandler more than two decades ago. “I don’t know if anyone knows this, but John Amos was originally supposed to play Chubbs in Happy Gilmore,” Josh said, adding that “Sandler and [Tim] Herlihy wrote it” for him.
“And then the studio is like, ‘Love John Amos, but what about Carl Weathers?’ Sandler and Herlihy were like, ‘Well, we love Carl Weathers, but we kind of wrote it for John Amos.’ The studio is like, ‘It’s gonna be Carl Weathers.’ It was very brief in time, but they talked to Amos about it. So when Amos came on set, we were talking, he asked if Sandler was there yet, and I said he’d be there soon. He said, ‘We were gonna work together a long time ago. Whatever happened to that golf movie?’”
“That golf movie,” of course, has become one of the most quotable of Sandler’s many comedies, especially for bros around the Safdies age. And, while Weathers gives an undeniably memorable performance—“It’s all in the hiiips”—we can’t help but envision Amos, in his indelible baritone, declaring that a “damn alligator BIT MY HAND OFF.”
The good news is that Amos will return as the McDowell’s overseer in Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America sequel. Weathers, meanwhile, will very likely return for the second season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian. And Grizzly Adams? Well, he did have a beard.